The Archipelago

Policeman involved in murder
of journalist

Police have arrested five suspects in the murder of Alfrets Mirulewan, chief editor of the Pelangi Maluku weekly tabloid. Mirulewan’s body was found floating in the harbor at Pantai Nama Port, Kisar Island, Pulau-Pulau Terselatan district in West Southeast Maluku regency.

One of the suspects is a member of the Maluku Water Police Directorate.

Maluku Police Detectives Unit director Sr. Comr. John Siahaan said his unit had named five suspects in the case.

“We have detained them at Maluku Police Headquarters and the Pulau-Pulau Terselatan Police station,” John said on Monday in Ambon.

The five are identified as First Brig. Markus Sahireka, a Maluku Polair member; Richard Silampessy, the son-in-law of Subsidized Fuel Distribution Depot owner Titus Tilukay from Kisar; Thomas Rupilu and Imanuel, Tilukay’s employees; and Risan Austen, a Pantai Nama Port employee.

Sahureka and Silampessy were arrested in Ambon, while the other suspects were apprehended in Kisar on Jan. 9. According to Siahaan, the number of suspects in the case will increase. “Of the 33 people examined as witnesses, two key witnesses might also be named as suspects,” he said.

He added that the National Police Headquarters was following the case seriously. A 12-member team led by a police general is scheduled to arrive in Kisar on Wednesday.

“The team will conduct an investigation at the crime scene and a repeat autopsy on Mirulewan. We will hold a press conference after that,” said Siahaan.

Maluku Media Center (MMC), which is providing advocacy to the murder case, believed Mirulewan’s death was connected with an investigation he was doing on a fuel syndicate at the Pantai Nama Port.

“Mirulewan’s death was connected with his investigations,” MMC coordinator Insany Syahbarwaty said.

Based on an investigation by MMC in Kisar between Dec. 25 and 30, 2010, Mirulewan was reported missing since Dec. 15 after he was involved in a quarrel with Indonesian Coast and Sea Guard Unit officer Giovani Alfons Assan at around 11 p.m. local time on the night of Dec. 14.

The argument between Giovani and Mirulewan was recorded in Mirulewan’s cell phone memory card. In the voice recording, Giovani claimed that fuel being unloaded from a tanker was owned by the local Port Security Unit commander First Brig. Evert Fasse.

Based on the regulation, the fuel should be supplied to the Subsidized Fuel Distribution Depot in Kisar and later to retailers. It turned out that Fasse, who is also a fuel retailer, had taken fuel in a great volume from the tanker.

A number of state apparatuses at Pantai Nama Port are believed to be involved in the illegal trade of subsidized fuel. For example, they buy premium gasoline at the subsidized price of Rp 4,500 directly from tankers during delivery, later reselling it to the public at a higher price.

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