|Subject: 5 Munir Updates: Police To
Investigate State Intel Agents; Priyanto Insists Not Guilty
- Indonesia Police:To Investigate State Agents For Activist Murder
- Reuters: Ex-Indonesia pilot gets 20 yrs for activist murder
- AFP: Indonesian court gives pilot 20 years for activist's murder
- AP: Supreme Court sentences Indonesian pilot in murder of human rights activist
- Kyodo: Indonesian pilot gets 20 years jail for murder of rights activist
Indonesia Police:To Investigate State Agents For Activist Murder
JAKARTA, Jan 25 (AP)--Indonesia's Supreme Court convicted a former state airline pilot on Friday in the poisoning murder of a prominent human rights activist and sentenced him to 20 years in prison, officials said.
The country's chief police spokesman, responding to the verdict, said secret service agents will be investigated for the first time over their alleged involvement in murder of Munir Thalib on a flight to the Netherlands in 2004.
Suspects at the BIN, the State Intelligence Agency, will be identified after police receive formal notice of the decision, said Maj. Gen. Sisno Adiwinoto
Ex-Indonesia pilot gets 20 yrs for activist murder
By Telly Nathalia
JAKARTA, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Indonesia's Supreme Court on Friday sentenced a former pilot for national carrier Garuda to 20 years in jail for the murder of a prominent human rights activist, a court official said.
The court overturned its own previous verdict, passed in October 2006, which cleared Pollycarpus Priyanto of a lower court's conviction and a 14-year jail term for the murder of rights lawyer Munir Thalib.
The case has been regarded as a key test of the government's determination to uphold the rule of law, as well as the accountability of several state agencies, including the spy agency.
Munir, an outspoken critic of Indonesia's military and its methods in quashing dissent and separatists in hotspots such as Aceh and Papua, died of arsenic poisoning while he was on board a Garuda flight from Singapore to the Netherlands in Sept. 2004.
The Supreme Court's latest decision came after prosecutors filed a case review, presenting what they said was fresh evidence that Priyanto served Munir with a poison-laced drink while in transit in Singapore's Changi Airport.
"The defendant was proven guilty of premeditated murder," the Supreme Court's spokesman Djoko Sarwoko told Reuters.
Washington and top U.N. human rights officials had urged Jakarta not to let the case slide.
Munir's widow, Suciwati, who has led a campaign for justice over the case, told Reuters the sentence was too lenient and that the others behind the murder must still be brought to justice.
"It would have been only fair if he were sentenced for life, so that he knows how it feels to lose someone you love."
National police spokesman Sisno Adiwinoto said by telephone that police would push ahead with the investigation.
"Now that Pollycarpus has been found guilty, we want to question him about who might have ordered and aided him." Priyanto, who has always denied any wrongdoing, told Elshinta radio he was shocked by the ruling, describing the process as "a soap opera".
"I have been made a scapegoat. It is very clear," he said.
Separately, prosecutors demanded on Friday an 18-month prison sentence for Indra Setiawan, the former head of Indonesia's national carrier Garuda, for aiding Priyanto in the murder of Munir.
Setiawan had previously told the Central Jakarta District Court that before Munir's death he had received a letter from Indonesia's spy agency asking him to allow Priyanto to be an aviation security officer.
But Setiawan has said he lost the letter, which was signed by a deputy chief of the agency, and his lawyer Antawirya Dipodiputro said on Friday his client had no knowledge about Priyanto's plans.
(Additional reporting by Ahmad Pathoni and Adhityani Arga; Editing by Ed Davies and David Fox)
Indonesian court gives pilot 20 years for activist's murder
JAKARTA, Jan 25 (AFP) -- Indonesia's Supreme Court sentenced a former pilot to 20 years in prison Friday for the murder of a leading rights activist, in a case NGOs have claimed implicates the country's powerful spy agency.
Pollycarpus Priyanto, a former pilot for national carrier Garuda, was found guilty of poisoning the outspoken Munir with arsenic while travelling on the airline in 2004 from Jakarta to Amsterdam via Singapore, court spokesman Nurhadi said.
"Pollycarpus has been proven legally and without a doubt to have committed a premeditated murder and letter forgery," Nurhadi said.
The sentence follows an appeal by prosecutors against a Supreme Court acquittal of Priyanto.
Munir, who died aged 38, provided legal counsel for victims of officially sanctioned violence during former president Suharto's often brutal 32-year rule.
The case has drawn widespread international attention and is seen as a test of how far the Indonesian government has reformed since the 1998 end of Suharto's New Order regime. Human rights groups have long accused Indonesia's intelligence agency (BIN) of involvement in the killing -- which it has denied.
Munir's widow, Suciwati, told AFP the verdict did not go far enough.
"This is what he deserves, but I wish he got a longer punishment. What's more important is to follow up on the intelligence people behind him. He didn't act on his own," she said.
Judge Djoko Sarwoko said the sentence was "based on new evidence following the case review filed by the Attorney General" and that there "was no dissenting opinion from the panel of five judges."
Sarwoko said new evidence considered by the court included the testimony of Raymond Latuihamalo, who saw Pollycarpus carrying two glasses and sitting with Munir at Singapore's Changi Airport.
The judge said expert witnesses convinced the court that Munir was poisoned eight to nine hours before dying on the Singapore-Amsterdam leg of the flight.
Priyanto said he was innocent following his sentencing.
"What is my fault? What is my motive? What is the proof? I am innocent," he told Elshinta news radio. "I've been framed by the system."
Priyanto's lawyer, Muhammad Assegaf, told ElShinta that the evidence against his client was not enough for a conviction.
"No one had witnessed Priyanto actually putting the poison into (Munir's) drink," he said, adding that the prosecution had changed its account -- three times -- of how Munir was poisoned.
On Friday, prosecutors also sought jail sentences for two Garuda employees accused in connection with Munir's murder.
Prosecutor Didi Farkhan recommended 18 months for former Garuda CEO Indra Setiawan and 12 months for former company secretary Rohainil Aini.
The pair, being tried separately, has been charged with falsifying documents and being accessories to premeditated murder for creating a letter prosecutors say was used to assign Priyanto, who was off duty, to travel on Munir's flight.
Both men's lawyers are expected to read a statement to the court on February 1, outlining their defences.
Setiawan told the court last year that officers of Indonesia's intelligence agency, or BIN, asked him to assign Priyanto to Munir's flight in a letter marked "secret" sent in April or May 2004. He said the letter disappeared from his car in December 2004.
Supreme Court sentences Indonesian pilot in murder of human rights activist
By ZAKKI HAKIM Associated Press Writer
JAKARTA, Jan 25 (AP) - Indonesia's Supreme Court convicted a former state airline pilot on Friday in the poisoning murder of a prominent human rights activist on a flight to the Netherlands and sentenced him to 20 years in prison, officials said.
The country's chief police spokesman, responding to the verdict, said secret service agents will be investigated for the first time over their alleged involvement in the murder of Munir Thalib.
Suspects at BIN, the State Intelligence Agency, will be identified after police receive formal notice of the decision, said Maj. Gen. Sisno Adiwinoto. They will be questioned about "their alleged involvement in the killing," he said.
The case has become a critical test of the country's willingness to come to grips with the legacy of the 32-year dictatorship of ailing ex-President Suharto and go after those accused of plotting the murder.
On Friday, the Supreme Court overturned its earlier acquittal in an appeal filed by prosecutors, ruling that off-duty pilot Polycarpus Priyanto "carried out the crime of premeditated murder," said court spokesman Nurhardi. He was also convicted of using forged documents to board the plane posing as a security agent.
Thalib, who made influential enemies exposing abuses during Suharto's brutal rule, died of arsenic poisoning on a commercial Garuda flight from Jakarta to Amsterdam in September 2004.
Priyanto was convicted in December 2005 by a lower court, only to be acquitted by the Supreme Court 10 months later.
Friday's ruling, which cannot be appealed, is "an entry point to go after the masterminds," said Usman Hamid, a friend of the victim and an activist who has campaigned for Thalib's killers to be brought to justice.
"He should have received a life sentence," said Thalib's widow, Suciwati. "The police must follow this up by bringing to justice the former leaders of the spy agency implicated in this trial."
Prosecutors have said they believe the crime was masterminded by secret service chiefs who allegedly ordered airline executives to falsify documents that allowed Priyanto to board the jetliner for the 11,260-kilometer (7,000-mile) flight.
A presidential fact-finding team identified several suspects, including the former agency deputy director, but police investigators have been prevented from going after them, prosecutors have said.
Last month the U.S. Congress decided to withhold US$2.7 million (euro1.8 million) in military aid unless Jakarta set a deadline for completing the criminal investigation.
Indonesian pilot gets 20 years jail for murder of rights activist
Christine T. Tjandraningsih
JAKARTA, Jan. 25 (Kyodo News) -- Indonesia's Supreme Court sentenced Friday a 46-year-old pilot to 20 years in jail for his involvement in the murder of a prominent human rights activist four years ago.
In October 2006, the same court had overturned on appeal a lower court ruling that Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto, a pilot for flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, was involved in the murder of human rights activist Munir, but after a judicial review, it reversed that ruling Friday.
In 2006, it had only upheld Priyanto's conviction on the lesser charge of falsifying flight documents.
''The judicial panel ruled (Friday) that Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto was legally and convincingly found guilty of committing a premeditated murder and falsifying documents and sentenced him to 20 years imprisonment,'' court Spokesman Nurhadi told a press conference.
The ruling follows a judicial review of the case filed by government prosecutors soon after the Supreme Court acquitted Priyanto in 2006.
In Indonesia, a judicial review is allowed when new evidence is found.
According to Joko Sarwoko, one of the judges, the judges issued the ruling after government prosecutors presented new evidence and witnesses.
One of the witnesses, Sarwoko, told reporters, he saw Munir and Priyanto sitting side by side, with the latter bringing glasses of a beverage that had been laced with arsenic, at the Coffee Bean cafe in Singapore's Changi International Airport.
Munir, co-founder of human rights organizations Imparsial and Kontras (Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence), died Sept. 7, 2004 while aboard Garuda flight GA-974 from Jakarta to Amsterdam via Singapore.
An autopsy by Dutch authorities showed an excessive concentration of arsenic in Munir's body, sparking speculation he was murdered.
Munir was a consistent critic of the Indonesian government and military over their poor human rights records.
''The case has apparently a political motive because Munir always criticized the government, so he might be regarded as a dangerous person,'' Sarwoko said.
Responding to the Supreme Court's ruling, Priyanto told reporters at his residence that ''It has been clear that this (case) has been politicized and I am the victim. This has been engineered.''
''I'm sure that this country will get destroyed because of such an attitude from its law enforcers,'' he added.
Late in 2005 and early 2006, both the Central Jakarta District Court and the Jakarta High Court, an appellant court, sentenced Priyanto to 14 years in jail for the crime.
A report by a government-appointed fact-finding team tasked with helping police probe the death concluded that former and active officials at the State Intelligence Agency, BIN, were involved in a conspiracy to murder Munir.
The team found Priyanto had been in telephone contact with BIN officials several times before and after Munir's murder and it submitted the names of seven people allegedly involved in the case.
BIN officials were summoned to clarify the agency's role, if any, but agency officials refused to respond to the summons and denied any involvement.
Priyanto reportedly gave up his business-class seat to Munir on the flight before reaching Singapore.
Priyanto was assigned to the flight by the airline's vice president of corporate security rather than its operational director, as was usually the case, according to findings by the police and the fact-finding team.
The judges said he had falsified documents to be able to join the flight.
Back to January menu