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Jakarta Post

Munir and the protection of rights defenders

  • Usman Hamid and Matthew Easton

    London, New York

  /   Fri, May 15 2009   /  01:09 pm

For more than four years, no case has been more central to the security of human rights defenders in Indonesia than the 2004 poisoning of Munir Said Thalib. However, that case is now at risk of collapse following the acquittal of a former senior intelligence official, Muchdi Purwopranjono. The unsolved murder dramatically underscores the need for better protection of human rights activists. In June 2008, Indonesian police detained Muchdi Pr, charging him with the premeditated murder of Munir. On Dec. 31, 2008, Muchdi Pr was acquitted on all charges following a trial marked by the systematic retraction of prior sworn statements by key witnesses and by the presence of organized groups seeking to influence the trial. The acquittal is under appeal to the Supreme Court. The murder of Munir is just one stark example of the need for better of protection for human rights activists. Man...