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East Timor & Indonesia ACTION Network ALERT

Support Justice for Murdered Indonesian Activist

Contact Your Representative to Sign Congressional Letter Today

In September 2004, Indonesia’s foremost human rights defender, Munir, was poisoned while on a flight to the Netherlands. His murder sent shock waves throughout Indonesia. Munir’s family and other activists pushed hard for a credible investigation, despite threats and intimidation. However, Indonesia’s National Intelligence Agency (BIN), which is composed of many “retired” military personnel, has stymied progress in holding accountable those responsible for the assassination, up to the highest level.

Representatives Jim McDermott (D-WA) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) are now circulating a letter to Indonesia’s president urging that the report of a fact-finding team he appointed be released publicly and that the recommendations of the team be considered, especially the creation of a new body to robustly explore any connection between government officials and Munir’s murder.

What YOU can do:

Contact your Representative today, preferably by phone. Urge her/him to:

  • Sign the Dear Colleague letter that Representatives McDermott and Kirk are circulating, calling for justice for the murder of renowned Indonesian human rights lawyer Munir.

A copy of the Congressional letter is pasted below. It provides additional details surrounding Munir’s murder and an explanation of attempts thus far to achieve justice.

Write or call today. Ask to speak to the foreign affairs legislative assistant. The Congressional switchboard number is 202-224-3121 (ask for the office of your Representative), or check for contact information. Offices should contact Sean Hughes in Rep. McDermott's office or Jeannette Windon in Rep. Kirk's office by Wednesday, October 26 to sign the letter.

Every call makes a difference.

Please keep us posted of the results of your calls by writing to

Thank you!!

Signers to date (October 25) McDermott, Kirk, Crowley, Burton, Wexler, Payne, McNulty, Baldwin, Grijalva, Chris Smith, Tancredo, Faleomavaega, Maloney, Schwartz, Sherrod Brown, Lantos, Adam Smith, Lynch, Oberstar, Hinchey, Doggett, John Lewis, Blumenauer, Lowey, Lane Evans, Mark Udall, Kucinich, Waxman, Lee, Jim Moran, Berman, McGovern, Jackson Jr, Roybal-Allard, Rohrabacher, Langevin, Rothman, Stark, Sanchez (Linda), Kennedy (Patrick), Meeks, Kilpatrick, Andrews (Rob), Rangel, Strickland, Watson, Shays, Serrano, Clay, Leach, Wolf, Markey, Holmes Norton, McCollum

Help Bring Justice To Munir's Family Join Us in Signing a Letter to Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

Dear Colleague:

We receive many requests for action on individual cases. However, the murder of one of Indonesia's top human rights lawyers, Munir, carries broad implications for a nation and its struggle towards democratization. If allowed to go unpunished, the high-profile assassination of such a prominent figure will send two dangerous messages to the Indonesian people: no-one is safe, and some people are above the law.

On September 7, 2004, while on a flight to the Netherlands to continue his legal studies, Munir became violently ill and, two hours before arrival, he passed away. When Dutch authorities released an autopsy report that November, it revealed four times the lethal dose of arsenic in his system.

Munir's family and other members of the human rights community pushed hard for an investigation, despite threats and intimidation. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono took the important step of creating an official fact-finding team to work in conjunction with the police investigation. Its members included human rights figures as well as a police general and a top prosecutor. According to reports, they uncovered evidence suggesting complicity by senior officials at the state airline Garuda. The report also apparently contains evidence that a Garuda employee named Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto, now on trial for his role in the murder, had extensive contact with a senior official of the State Intelligence Agency in the weeks before and after the murder.

Unfortunately, the investigation made little headway after that point. Senior intelligence officials refused to meet with the fact-finding team or hand over documents. The head of the State Intelligence Agency at the time of Munir's murder even filed a complaint against two members of the official fact-finding team for criminal defamation. Police have summoned the prominent human rights activists, who head two organizations that Munir founded.

The team submitted its findings to President Yudhoyono on June 23, 2005. Despite a provision in the President's own decree, the government has not made the report public. When the trial of Pollycarpus began in August, the prosecution's indictment made no reference to the fact-finding team, its report, or the intelligence agency.

If prosecutors will not even mention the name of the intelligence agency in court, despite significant evidence in the fact-finding team's report suggesting the agency's knowledge or involvement, there is a real danger that those responsible for planning and ordering Munir's death will never be held accountable. Even the case against Pollycarpus may be jeopardized by the failure to present all relevant evidence in court.

President Yudhoyono himself has described this matter as a test case for how much Indonesia has changed from its authoritarian past. Please join us in urging President Yudhoyono to take the following steps to help ensure that Indonesia passes this test:

1) As a crucial first step, the Indonesian Government should publicly release the report of the fact-finding team so its findings and conclusions can be debated openly.

2) The recommendations of the team should be considered. One key recommendation that members have publicly called for is the creation of a new body with a robust mandate to explore evidence of a connection between government officials and the death of Munir.

If you would like to sign the attached letter (on the reverse side of this page) please contact Sean Hughes in Rep. McDermott's office (5-3106) or Jeannette Windon in Rep. Kirk's office (5-4835). Thank you for your consideration,


Jim McDermott
Member of Congress

Mark Kirk
Member of Congress

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
Istana Merdeka
Jakarta 10110 Indonesia

Dear President Yudhoyono,

We have watched with admiration as Indonesia held three successful national elections last year and then carried out unprecedented local elections in 2005. As Indonesia's first directly-elected president, you have a strong mandate to act on behalf of the Indonesian people.

As members of the United States Congress who are concerned about human rights around the world, we are concerned about the murder and subsequent investigation of the renowned Indonesian human rights lawyer, Munir Said Thalib. We were pleased when you created a fact-finding team last December to investigate the murder of Munir, and your spokesman stated, "The President will do whatever it takes to solve this case." Now, soon after the anniversary of Munir's death, your action is needed.

Presidential Decree No. 111 of 2004 states that "It is the government that will subsequently announce the results of the team's investigation to the public." As a first step, we urge you to release the report of the fact-finding team.

We are following the ongoing trial of Garuda employee, Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto with interest and concern. We are surprised and troubled that the police and prosecution seem to have ignored the findings of the fact-finding team.

We urge the Indonesian government to consider acting on the fact-finding team's recommendations. For example, we understand the reports suggests that the government should create a new commission with a strong mandate to explore the evidence wherever it may lead, including enforcement of full cooperation of all state agencies, including the State Intelligence Agency (BIN).

Munir devoted his life to finding the truth, and in the end he gave his life for that cause. Now his own death is the subject of an unprecedented fact-finding report. We strongly urge your government to fulfill Indonesia's promise as an open and democratic society by publicly releasing the report and acting on its recommendations.

Thank you for your consideration of this important matter. We look forward to your response.





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