The Investigation of the Murder of Munir:
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see also ETAN Urges Justice for Munir on 12th Anniversary of Assassination

Justice for Munir - 2016

the Investigation of the Murder of Munir:
Timeline and Recommendations

September 6, 2016

Munir Said Thalib was one of Indonesia's foremost human rights and anti-corruption activists. A student of law at Brawijaya University in East Java, Munir became involved in human rights initially as a legal aid officer in Surabaya. Later on, he founded the KontraS, the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence. In 2000 he received the Right Livelihood Award, known as the Alternative Nobel Prize. His work covered a wide range of human rights issues in Indonesia and Timor-Leste. He was assassinated September 7, 2004, while travelling to Utrecht University to pursue a master's degree in international law and human rights. He was 39 years old. Before his assassination, he was the executive director of the Indonesian Human Rights Monitor (IMPARSIAL). He left behind his wife Suciwati Munir and their two children.

Munir_Said_Thalib r_Munir002
The late Munir Said Thalib
893842_03003701122014_pollycarpus Muchdi-Purwoprandjono
Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto and Muchdi Purwoprandjono

Recommendations to the International Community

September 7, 2004

One of Indonesia’s leading human rights lawyers, Munir Said Thalib, becomes sick and dies on the second leg of a Jakarta-Singapore-Amsterdam flight.

October 2004

Recently elected Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono meets Munir’s widow Suciwati and according to presidential spokesman Andi Mallerangeng, Yudhoyono promises to "do everything necessary to conclude the case."

November 1, 2004

After a Dutch autopsy reveals arsenic poisoning, newly elected President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono promises to create an independent fact-finding team. ()

December 3, 2004

U.S. NGOs write Indonesian President to urge action on the murder of human rights activist Munir.

May 11, 2005

A group of 30 international human rights groups, including ETAN, write President Yudhoyono about concerns with the lack of progress in the investigations of Munir’s murder and fears about political interference.

June 23, 2005

Fact-finding team hands report to President recommending investigation of senior intelligence officials and charges against Garuda Airlines officials. Phone records show 41 calls between a suspect Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto, a Garuda pilot, and a senior intelligence official, a retired Special Forces (Kopassus) general named Muchdi Purwoprandjono. Report is never officially released.

October 27, 2005

68 members of the U.S. House of Representatives send a letter to the Indonesian President calling for action on the case of Munir Said Thalib.suc

December 20, 2005

Pollycarpus is convicted of premeditated murder and forgery related to a falsified work roster used to travel on the flight and is sentenced to 14 years. Judges note that Pollycarpus is part of a larger plot and urge authorities to investigate further. Both sides appeal.

March 27, 2006

Appeals Court upholds Pollycarpus conviction and sentence.

September 18, 2006

US Senator Leahy (D-VT) issues statement on anniversary of Munir’s death. He said that “the Indonesian government has failed to properly investigate and prosecute those responsible.

October 4, 2006

Indonesian Supreme Court votes to reverse premeditated murder conviction of Pollycarpus due to lack of evidence. The document forgery conviction is upheld, with a sentence of two years (including time served). Pollycarpus is later granted a Christmas sentence remission and released.

November 3, 2006

Key members of Congress write President Yudhoyono to express “deep concern” that no one has been held accountable for Munir’s murder.

March 28, 2007

The Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions at the UN issues statement calling for Indonesia to investigate the members implicated by the report on the murder of Munir Said Thalib.

April-May, 2007

Attorney General’s office prepares request to Supreme Court to review its decision to reverse Pollycarpus’ conviction.

April 14, 2007

Garuda’s former director Indra Setiawan and staff member Rohainil Aini are arrested and then charged in connection with the murder.

Suciwati. Photo: TEMPO/ Cheppy A. Muchlis

May 3, 2007

Munir’s widow Suciwati wins a civil suit against Garuda. The court orders that the company pay Suciwati 600,000,000 rupiah. However, the ruling reduces damages and throws out key plaintiff demands, such as an audit of Garuda’s actions and an apology from the airlines.

August-September, 2007

Supreme Court holds hearings on whether to accept the request for review of its decision in the Pollycarpus case. The evidence dossier includes evidence linking the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) to the murder; for example, a former BIN agent Sentot reports that he was tasked with planning scenarios for Munir’s assassination, and that he saw Pollycarpus at BIN headquarters. The Supreme Court did not deny there was evidence of a widespread conspiracy to kill Munir and of BIN’s involvement with Pollycarpus.

October- November, 2007

At trial, Setiawan says he received a letter from the BIN Deputy Chief instructing him to assign Pollycarpus to aviation security, allowing him to travel on Munir’s flight. Setiawan says the letter was later stolen from his car. Both Setiawan and Aini were convicted and imprisoned for one year.

January 25, 2008

The Indonesian Supreme Court reverses the October 2006 acquittal of Pollycarpus. After a case review, the five-judge panel voted unanimously to return Pollycarpus to prison for 20 years, citing new evidence. The long-awaited decision in the Pollycarpus case removes a possible obstacle to charging additional suspects, up to and including senior intelligence officials, as law enforcement officials had used the pending Supreme Court decision as a justification to hold off on charging new suspects.

Posters for 12th anniversary of Munir's murder ‪#‎menyimakmunir‬  
Posters for 12th anniversary of Munir's murder ‪#‎menyimakmunir‬.  

August 21, 2008

Muchdi Purwoprandjono trial for abusing his powers and conspiring to poison Munir begins.

September 15, 2008

U.S. Senator Russell Feingold (D-WI) remembers Munir, saying “Those who committed human rights abuses must be identified and brought to justice, both to provide a sense of closure for victims who suffered these atrocities as well as to set the important precedent that human and political rights play an important role in today's Indonesia.”

December 31, 2008

Muchdi Purwoprandjono is acquitted by the South Jakarta District Court due to lack of evidence and after key witnesses recanted their accounts against him. Muchdi files complaint against activist who continues to call him responsible for Munir’s death.

February 20, 2010

Indonesian activist asks Obama to pressure Indonesia on Munir Case. The activist who was participating in a human rights summit in Washington, DC, reportedly told Obama pay attention to the case “because the settlement of this is very important to the democratization process, law enforcement and law reform, and protection of human rights in Indonesia,” 

March 2011

A coalition of human rights organizations submits a request to the Attorney General’s office to compel them to release evidence including phone records that point to Muchdi Purwoprandjono’s guilt in the case.

November 2012

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay requests that the Indonesian government re-open and re-investigate the case. The Indonesian government ignores this request.

July 31, 2013

The Human Rights Committee, a UN monitoring body consisting of 18 independent experts, analyzes Indonesia’s human rights record based on Indonesia’s report on implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The committee recommends Indonesia to take urgent action to halt repression of human rights defenders and used Munir’s case as an example.

October 7, 2013

Pollycarpus’ sentence is reduced from 20 to 14 years by the Supreme Court.

May 2014

Presidential candidate Jokowi Widodo submits a 41-page policy proposal document to the National Election Commission (KPU) before the Presidential Elections in Indonesia. The document includes a call to bring justice to the unresolved Munir case.

September 5, 2014

Human Rights First urges the U.S. government to put pressure on Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to hold the people responsible for Munir’s death accountable.

September 6, 2014

On the 10th anniversary of the murder of Munir, Secretary of State John Kerry issues a statement honoring Munir’s life and work. He calls Munir “a voice of conscience and clarity” and urges President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to solve the Munir case and bring to justice those responsible. Ten years after Munir’s death, the initial investigation results have still not been publicly released and only two low-level players have been convicted of their involvement in the crime.

October 2014

Joko Widodo takes office. He appoints Hendropriyono as an adviser in his transition team. Hendropriyono is a former general who was chair of the state intelligence agency when Munir was murdered. Leaks claim that he headed meetings discussing Munir’s murder.

Hendropriyono admits "command responsibility" in Munir’s assassination. In interviews with Allan Nairn, published on October 27, Hendropriyono agreed to stand trial for his involvement in “three major atrocities the Munir murder, the 1999 terror campaign that devastated occupied East Timor, and the 1989 Talangsari massacre.”

AM Hendropriyono.  
AM Hendropriyono. Photo: Okezone  
November 29, 2014

Pollycarpus leaves prison on parole signed by Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly after serving two thirds of his sentence. Pollycarpus is required to report to parole offices and is prohibited from traveling abroad. KontraS calls on President Widodo to overturn the order paroling Pollycarpus saying it is within his power.

December 1, 2014

The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) sets up a private legal team to determine whether the assassination on Munir can be classified as a crime against humanity. The team, comprising of several top Komnas HAM officials, stated they would spend up to three months assessing the case, reviewing court documents and collection witness information. If the murder were to meet the criteria of a crime against humanity, a pro-justicia investigation would be recommended. Nothing came of the investigation.

December 3, 2014

National Police Chief Gen. Sutarman says that the police will not reopen the investigation of the 2004 assassination of Munir. On January 17, President Joko Widodo announces the dismissal of National Police Chief Gen. Sutarman. The president did not state a reason, but it is believed to be unrelated to the Munir case.  

Munir Path in The Hague.April 11, 2015

The Hague officially names a bicycle path after Munir. The path is located within a complex of streets named after famous human rights campaigners such as Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela.

February 21, 2016

The Omah Munir (Munir Museum) releases a human rights curriculum to be used in junior high school classes. The museum was established on Dec. 8, 2013 in Batu, East Java, Munir’s hometown.

August 2016

Hendropriyono, allegedly involved in Munir’s murder, is appointed chair of the Indonesian Justice and Unity Party, or PKPI.

recommendations to the international community

When President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono stepped down as president in 2014, his administration had failed it own “test of its history.” Justice for Munir and his family remains elusive as ever. In 2014, one of current President Jokowi’s campaign slogans was: “Jokowi is us.” Jokowi ran on his advocacy for the poor and for human rights. If he truly believes in human rights, he should hold those accountable for Munir’s death and not allow those to live in impunity. Instead Jokowi appointed Hendropriyono – who allegedly led a meeting on the conspiracy to murder Munir and was involved in other serious human rights -- as part of his transition team.

To ensure justice for Munir and improve the security of all Indonesian human rights defenders, the international community should:

1. Urge President Joko Widodo to officially release the report of the independent fact-finding team, as specified in the presidential decree that created it.

2. Urge President Widodo to establish a new independent commission with a stronger mandate, in order to identify who planned and ordered the killing of Munir. Emphasis should be placed on holding State Intelligence Agency officials accountable.

3. Urge President Widodo to establish a police audit to determine why the police have failed to investigate intelligence officials implicated by the evidence to date.

4. Urge the Indonesian Parliament to use its full powers, including its right to question the president, to push for meaningful progress in the case.

5. Urge the U.S. government, including Secretary of State John Kerry, to take an active role in pursuing justice in this and other Indonesia human rights cases.

East Timor and Indonesia Action Network;, @etan009

See also

ETAN Urges Justice for Munir on 12th Anniversary of Assassination (September 7, 2016)

Andreas Harsono/HRW: New path in The Hague is a reminder of Indonesia’s shame (May 6, 2015)

Jakarta Post: Pollycarpus gets Parole (November 28, 2014)

Breaking News: Gen. Hendropriyono Admits "Command Responsibility" in Munir Assassination. Says Talangsari Victims "Committed Suicide." Agrees to Stand Trial for Atrocities; Legal Implications for As'ad, Wiranto, CIA. Hendropriyono: Part 1 by Allan Nairn (October 2, 2014)

Jakarta Globe: Solving Munir’s Murder: A Test for Indonesia’s New President (September 9, 2014)

Amnesty International: A decade of injustice – time to find Munir’s real killers (September 8 2014)

Human Rights First: No Justice Ten Years After Munir’s Assassination (September 5, 2014)

Kompas: Commemorating 10 Years of Death Her husband, Munir's wife of Bill Promises SBY (August 22, 2014)

Human Rights First: Culture of Impunity in Indonesia Lives on Nine Years After the Assassination of Munir (September 9, 2013)

Action Committee in Solidarity with Munir (KASUM): Summary of the Munir Case: Prepared for Margaret Sekaggya, Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders (PDF)M (January 18, 2009)

Forum Asia: Indonesian authorities fail to bring to justice the masterminds behind Munir Said Thalib’s murder (November 5, 2006)

BBC: Munir murder conviction quashed (October 4, 2006)

HRW: Indonesia: A Year Later, Munir’s Killers Evade Justice (September 7, 2005)





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