Subject: AFP: Indonesian police say closing in on Munir killers

Indonesian police say closing in on Munir killers

Fri Apr 27, 11:43 AM ET

JAKARTA (AFP) - Indonesian police said Friday they were closing in on the masterminds of the murder of a respected rights activist who died from arsenic poisoning on a flight to Amsterdam.

Police revealed they knew who carried out the killing of Munir Said Thalib, whose drink was laced in 2004 during a stopover at Singapore's Changi airport, as well as the motive.

"We know the motive behind the murder and we are now investigating who was the mastermind behind it," national police spokesman Sisno Adiwinoto said.

Police have reopened the Munir investigation after the murder conviction of Garuda airlines pilot Pollycarpus Priyanto, the only person charged over his death, was quashed by the Supreme Court last year.

Adiwinoto said new evidence would soon be submitted to the attorney general to support a judicial review of the case.

Earlier this month, the former head of the national carrier and another former Garuda executive were arrested for questioning over the falsification of documents that allowed off-duty Priyanto to travel on Munir's flight.

Police said Thursday they were interviewing fresh witnesses in the case.

The Indonesian government has come under international pressure over the case amid concerns of footdragging over the investigation because of links to the country's national intelligence agency.

Munir made powerful enemies through his campaigning during the rule of former dictator Suharto. He had worked to expose military involvement in human rights violations, including during <>East Timor's 1999 vote for independence from Indonesia.

Separately Friday, Priyanto said he had sent letters to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and the attorney general protesting the review of the case.

"We hope the attorney general will cancel his plans to review my case because there is no basis for it," he told reporters.

His lawyer Adnan Wirawan outlined at a press conference a range of legal reasons in the letter against the review.

"We support Munir's family's efforts to find who killed him, but we are afraid innocent people are being accused (in the process)," said Wirawan.

Priyanto was released from prison in December after receiving three months' remission on his sentence for a different charge.

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