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Jakarta Post

Murderer probably from Navy, say police

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, May 26, 2015   /  07:05 am

The investigation into the murder of environmental activist Jopi Teguh Lesmana Peranginangin suggests that the killer may be a member of the military.

Jakarta Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Muhammad Iqbal said on Monday that currently the South Jakarta Police were coordinating with the Navy'€™s Military Police (Pomal) on the investigation.

'€œHowever, we still don'€™t know the identity of the perpetrator yet,'€ he said.

Iqbal went on to say that the police had confiscated closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage from the night club and questioned five witnesses. He also said that the motive of the attack had not been revealed yet.

Jopi, who was a member of environmental group Sawit Watch, an NGO addressing the negative impacts of palm oil plantations, was stabbed to death outside a night club in Kemang, South Jakarta, on Saturday. According to a witness, the perpetrator claimed to be a military officer.

Jefri Gideon Saragih, the executive director of Sawit Watch, said over the weekend that the incident caused activists to be more cautious of their movements and actions.

Jefri said that before his death Jopi had just concluded a research report on oil palm plantation companies in North Kalimantan and Central Sulawesi that used corruption and bribery to secure their licenses. The report will be published soon, Jefri said.

The Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) claimed that hundreds of environmental activists had been the victims of violent crimes over the past three years, with the number cases increasing about 80 percent in 2013.

According to a press release from Walhi, the Barito Utara Police officers in Central Kalimantan arrested as many as 27 residents of Kemawen village on Jan. 14, 2015, when residents tried to defend 4,500 hectares of their customary land. The land was acquired by PT Berjaya Agro Kalimantan and is slated to become part of its 20,000-ha oil palm plantation.

The latest case of violence against an environmental activist was on Feb. 27, when a farmer-cum-activist Indra Pelani was murdered, allegedly by security guards of the forest industry company PT Wira Karya Sakti in Tebo, Jambi, which is owned by Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), according to a press release by Walhi in Jambi.

Several NGOs, such as the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), the Indigenous People'€™s Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN), Sawit Watch and Walhi have urged the police to investigate Jopi'€™s murder in a swift and transparent manner to find the perpetrator and punish him in accordance with the law.

Sawit Watch has appointed one of its in-house lawyers to closely follow the investigation undertaken by the South Jakarta Police. (prm)

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