National

Denied letter, activists
to push to reopen Munir
case

Efforts to reopen the murder investigation of Munir Said Thalib will not be stymied by the refusal of the Central Information Commission (KIP) to release a crucial document, say the slain human rights activists’ supporters.

Activists from the Solidarity Committee for Munir (Kasum) previously asked for a document that they claimed contained an order from the National Intelligence Agency (BIN) to Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto and Muchdi Purwopranjono.

Munir died of arsenic poisoning on his way from Jakarta to the Netherlands aboard Garuda Indonesia flight number GA 974 in 2004.

Garuda Indonesia employees Pollycarpus and Indra Setiawan were convicted and imprisoned for Munir’s murder, although both have appealed their convictions.

The authorities have failed to identify the mastermind behind Munir’s assassination, more than seven years later.

Representatives of Kasum previously said they suspected the BIN document would provide a starting point for reopening the investigation and hopefully identifying who ordered Munir murdered.

Activists’ hope dimmed during a hearing at KIP, however, when the commission rejected their request.

“This is a special case for KIP, because the problem is not about whether the documents could
be disclosed. It’s about their existence,” presiding judge Ahmad Alamsyah Saragih told reporters on Wednesday.

Ahmad said that BIN officials testified that the assignment letters in question did not exist. The commission had to accept the officials’ testimony given KIP’s limited investigative authority, he added.

Pollycarpus, who was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment in 2008 for Munir’s premeditated murder, has regularly received sentence reductions every Independence Day and Christmas Day, including a
45-day remission on Dec. 25.

Meanwhile, Muchdi was acquitted by the South Jakarta District Court of charges that he ordered Pollycarpus to kill Munir. Muchdi said that he never gave such an order and was in Malaysia when Munir was murdered.

Choirul Anam from Kasum described KIP’s decision as a minor loss, saying several new facts were brought to light.

“We realize that KIP’s decision was not very good for us, but during the adjudication process BIN claimed that [it] never sent an assignment order to Malaysia for Muchdi Purwoprandjono when the murder happened,” Anam said.

BIN’s statement was strong enough to urge the Supreme Court to review the case, Anam added.

Attorney General Basrief Arief said in September that appealing the acquittal of Muchdi would be against the law, citing the Criminal Code, which allows only defendants to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Despite Basrief’s claims, the AGO has frequently filed appeals to the Supreme Court. For example,
the AGO appealed Pollycarpus’ acquittal, which led to his incarceration. (rpt)

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