Subject: Munir Murder Case Process ‘Strange’: Rights Body

also Munir Murder Case Process ‘Strange’: Rights Body

The Jakarta Globe

February 11, 2010

Activists Urge Police To Revisit Murder Of Munir

by Heru Andriyanto

The police need to reopen their investigation of the 2004 murder of renowned rights activist Munir Said Thalib after the justice system failed to find the brains behind the murder, given the acquittal of former top intelligence official Muchdi Purwoprandjono, a rights group said on Wednesday.

Law enforcers should not give up on the case because “crime investigation is not limited by names or the number of suspects,” said Usman Hamid, co­ordinator of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras). “The principle is that no crime can go unpunished.”

His remarks came after the National Commission for Human Rights (Komnas HAM) this week called for reopening of the case, found three former employees of state airline PT Garuda Indonesia guilty.

“Prosecutors may reopen the case by requesting a case review into Muchdi’s acquittal,” Usman said. “Police may launch a fresh probe into the case and collect new evidence. If Muchdi is not the mastermind, then who? We need the answer from police.”

He said Kontras welcomed the recommendation by Komnas, which, although not legally binding, serves as a moral ground to uncover the high-profile murder case. He regretted the recent polic e statement that a refiled indictment against Muchdi was unlikely.

“The case can be reopened. Police can find new evidence and possibly new suspects,” he said.

Last month, activists from the Committee of Action and Solidarity for Munir (Kasum) held a rally outside the Attorney General’s Office in South Jakarta, demanding that prosecutors challenge the acquittal of the former intelligence chief who had been accused of ordering the murder.

The demonstration was held almost a year after the South Jakarta District Court acquitted Muchdi, the former head of the Army’s Special Forces (Kopassus).

Munir was born in Malang, East Java, on Dec. 8, 1955, and was a staunch critic of the military over human-rights issues. The founder of Kontras, Munir died after his drink was poisoned with arsenic during an Amsterdam-bound flight on Sept. 7, 2004.

In the indictment, prosecutors said Muchdi had used his influence at the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) to avenge his ouster as Kopassus chief, which he blamed on Munir.

Previously, the National Police said they would support the AGO in a review of the murder case.


The Jakarta Post

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Munir Murder Case Process ‘Strange’

Bagus Budi Tama Saragih, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The human rights body has revealed several irregularities in the legal investigation into the murder of Munir S. Thalib, a crime which remains a mystery five years after the activist’s death.

“According to our examination, the prosecutors were strangely unprofessional in handling a case with such incredible public exposure,” prominent lawyer Frans Hendra Winarta told the press on Tuesday.

Frans is a member of the public examination team set up in February last year by the National Commission on Human Rights to review the legal case. The proceedings of Munir’s case ended with former top National Intelligence Agency (BIN) officer Muchdi Purwopranjono being acquitted of the murder.

“We suggest the Attorney General’s Office re-file the appeal to the Supreme Court or file a case review for the sake of justice,” Frans said.

While refiling an appeal was unusual, “we need a breakthrough if we are really serious in probing the murder,” Frans said.

A one-year study conducted by the five-member team on the case showed flaws from the police investigation, prosecution and the trials, members said.

Munir died from arsenic poisoning on board a Garuda flight from Singapore to Amsterdam on Sept. 7, 2004.

Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto, a former pilot of national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, has since been serving a 20-year prison sentence for Munir’s assassination.

The examination team, as well as rights activists, said the mastermind of the crime has still not been revealed.

The South Jakarta District Court acquitted Muchdi in late December 2008, after which prosecutors filed an appeal to the Supreme Court against the decision.

In June 2009, the court dismissed the appeal, saying the prosecutors failed to provide a convincing argument against Muchdi’s acquittal.

“Convincing judges that a previous verdict is irregular is the first step before the case can go to the Supreme Court,” Frans said.

The board of justices handling the appeal were also considered incompetent to handle such a criminal case, Frans said, as the expertise of two of them lay in Islamic law while another was an expert on civil lawsuits and customary law.

The team also criticized the judges at the district court level who acquitted Muchdi in the first place.

“The district court failed to conduct a fair trial” as they failed to summon at least two key witnesses, Frans said.

He was referring to Budi Santoso, a former BIN agent, and M. As’ad, former BIN deputy chairman. Budi failed to appear before the court after reportedly being intimidated by police, an allegation police denied.

“The two were key witnesses as they could reveal the link between Pollycarpus and Muchdi,” another team member, Mudzakkir, said.

Other members of Frans’ team are legal sociologist Soetandyo Wignjosoebroto, public administration expert Fajrul Falaakh, and legal expert M Rudi Rizki.

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