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Top Court Rejects AGO Appeal Over Muchdi Acquittal

Sumber: THEJAKARTAGLOBE.COM | Tgl terbit: Jumat, 10 Juli 2009

Farouk Arnas, Nivell Rayda & Heru Andriyanto

The Supreme Court has thrown out an appeal by prosecutors against the acquittal of former top intelligence official Muchdi Purwoprandjono over the murder of renowned rights activist Munir Said Thalib in 2004.

The Attorney General’s Office will probably not challenge the decision, spokesman Jasman Panjaitan said.

“Requesting a case review requires us to present new evidence or find a compelling national interest in the case,” he said.

The court had declared the AGO’s appeal unacceptable because an acquittal could not be challenged by prosecutors, he said. “The Supreme Court judges have not discussed the substance of Muchdi’s case — the decision was based on procedural considerations,” Jasman said.

Supreme Court spokesman Hatta Ali, also a judge, said on Friday that the decision was made on June 15, but he declined to explain the delay in announcing it.

The deciding panel was presided over by Judge Nyak Pa, accompanied by Muchsin and Valerine Krierkhoff.

Munir’s widow, Suciwati, responded to the news with outrage and urged President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to intervene.

“I learned about the bad news this afternoon after my friends called me,” Suciwati told the Jakarta Globe from Yogyakarta.

“But for me, it’s not the end of the journey. I call on SBY to make a breakthrough and continue with the legal proceedings on this case.”

Muchdi, a former deputy chief of the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) and current deputy chairman of the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), was acquitted by the South Jakarta District Court on Dec. 31, 2008, of charges that he ordered the September 2004 murder.

Munir died of arsenic poisoning on a Garuda flight to Amsterdam. The founder of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) was traveling to Utrecht University to study international law and human rights.

After Muchdi’s acquittal, the AGO immediately lodged an appeal, followed by a counter-appeal by Muchdi’s defense team on Feb. 15.

The prosecution team, led by Cirus Sinaga, challenged the district court’s verdict on the grounds that Muchdi’s acquittal was
“conditional.”

It noted several precedent-setting cases in which the Supreme Court accepted the prosecution’s appeal against the acquittal of former PT Bank Mandiri president Edward Cornelius William Neloe on graft charges and the acquittal of businessman Adelin Lis in an illegal logging case.

Friday’s news also drew protests from the Committee of Action and Solidarity for Munir (Kasum), because the Supreme Court had earlier accepted the prosecution’s appeal against the release of another defendant in the case.

“It is very important for police and prosecutors to find new evidence so they can request a case review,” Kasum said. “This case is not over yet.”



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