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New Look At Munir Murder Demanded

Sumber: THEJAKARTAGLOBE.COM | Tgl terbit: Rabu, 07 September 2011

On the eve of the seventh anniversary of the death by poisoning of rights activist Munir Said Thalib, Amnesty International on Tuesday called on Attorney General Basrief Arief to prioritize a new investigation into the case.

“Amnesty International is concerned about the handling of Munir’s death, which has not been transparent and accountable, contributing to fear among human rights defenders in Indonesia and giving rise to questions about the Indonesian government’s commitment in protecting human rights defenders,” Amnesty said in an Indonesian-language e-mail.

It said the lack of accountability in the case has set a bad precedent for human rights enforcement in Indonesia.

“Therefore the attorney general must conduct a new investigation into the case,” Josef Roy Benedict, an Amnesty International campaigner for Indonesia and East Timor, said in the e-mail.

Benedict said the lack of government accountability in investigating the case could give rise to the belief that human rights violators in the country, including those engaging in torture, murder and forced disappearances, operated with impunity.

He added that under national and international law, the government had to guarantee that suspects in human rights cases faced trial in a court system that met international standards.

“Besides taking those suspected of being responsible for human rights violations to court, the government is also under the obligation to guarantee that human rights workers can continue to work,” he said.

Amnesty International, Benedict said, had officially sent a letter to the attorney general calling for the launch of a new investigation into Munir’s murder.

The activist died on a Garuda Indonesia flight to Amsterdam on Sept. 7, 2004. An autopsy conducted by the Dutch authorities showed that Munir died of arsenic poisoning.

An off-duty Garuda pilot who was on board the same flight as Munir from Jakarta to Singapore, Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto, is now serving a 20-year jail sentence for lacing Munir’s drink with arsenic. But the person who ordered the murder has remained elusive.

Muchdi Purwoprandjono, a former deputy director of the State Intelligence Agency (BIN), was acquitted by a Jakarta court in December 2008 on charges that he planned and assisted the murder. Prosecutors had alleged that Muchdi planned the murder out of anger over Munir’s past criticism of his leadership of the Army’s Kopassus special forces unit.

Rights groups said Muchdi’s trial did not meet international standards. They point to the fact that a key witness withdrew earlier testimony that had been made under oath.

Amnesty International also urged the attorney general in the e-mail to “support the passage of specific legislation aimed at providing better legal protection for human rights defenders.”

It was signed by the directors of 16 Amnesty International branches, including in Australia, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Malaysia and the United States.



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