Munir's murderer released on parole
Hans Nicholas Jong and Arya Dipa
The Jakarta Post
Pollycarpus Budihari Prijanto, the convicted murderer of human rights campaigner Munir Said Thalib, has been released on parole from the Sukamiskin Penitentiary in Bandung, West Java, where he had been imprisoned for the past six years. He was supposed to serve 14 years.
Spokesman for the Sukamiskin penitentiary, Ibnu Chuldun, said that Pollycarpus was granted parole on Friday afternoon.
'He has been released from Sukamiskin and he also has reported [his parole] to the Bandung City Hall,' he told The Jakarta Post on Friday.
Pollycarpus was released on parole after fulfilling the requirements established by the Law and Human Rights Ministry, Ibnu said.
During his parole, Pollycarpus will be required to join counseling sessions and report regularly with the Bandung city administration.
The ministry's director general of penitentiaries, Handoyo Sudrajat, confirmed Pollycarpus' release.
'Yes, he has been granted parole,' Handoyo said. 'All of the requirements have been met; officials at every level who oversaw the process have agreed that he met all the requirements, so we gave him parole.'
Handoyo added that the newly installed Law and Human Rights Minister, Yasonna H. Laoly, had signed the parole document releasing Pollycarpus.
Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) coordinator Haris Azhar deplored the government's decision to grant Pollycarpus parole, saying that the current administration had shown no goodwill toward the protection of human rights.
'This is solid evidence of the government's powerlessness against abuses of human rights. Instead of punishing Pollycarpus' boss at the National Intelligence Agency [BIN], the field operator of the crime was in fact released.'
Choirul Anam, the lawyer for Munir's wife, Suciwati, said that the news came as a shock to her and Munir's family. 'The government of President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo shows no sensitivity to human rights. Jokowi could not reap the benefits of democracy if were not for Munir.'
While parole is every convict's right, there was no justification for releasing Pollycarpus, Choirul said.
'Munir's case is a gross human rights violation where BIN committed murder,' he said.
Choirul added that Pollycarpus was released after accumulating a large number of sentence-remissions during his imprisonment at Sukamiskin Penitentiary, which began in June 2008.
He received remissions on 11 occasions for a total of 42 months.
In his final remission, which took place this year on Aug. 17, the nation's independence day, eight months were slashed off Pollycarpus' sentence in recognition of his participation with boy scouts.
Pollycarpus, a former pilot with state-flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, was sentenced in December 2005 to 14 years in prison by judges at the Central Jakarta District Court for putting arsenic in Munir's tea at Singapore's Changi airport, where Munir was in transit en route to Amsterdam in September 2004.
The Supreme Court increased Pollycarpus' sentence to 20 years in 2008 after he failed to win a case review. In 2013, it was cut to 14 years.
Ina Parlina contributed to this report.
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