Subject: Muchdi Remains Untouchable In Munir Case

The Jakarta Post Saturday, July 11, 2009

Muchdi Remains Untouchable In Munir Case

Dicky Christanto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal filed by prosecutors challenging the South Jakarta District Court's decision acquitting Muchdi Purwopranjono in the murder case of noted rights activist Munir Said Thalib.

The rejection was made as the prosecutors failed to convince the panel of justices that there had been a mistake behind Muchdi's acquittal, an official said.

"The Court found that there was no mistake made by the District Court when trying this case," Supreme Court's spokesman Hatta Ali said Friday.

However Hatta refused to elaborate further on other considerations used by the justices in rejecting the appeal request.

The ruling was issued on June 15.

Commenting on the ruling, the Attorney General's Office (AGO) spokesman, Jasman Pandjaitan, said the AGO would thoroughly evaluate the rejection although the AGO had yet to receive the court's ruling.

"Once we receive the ruling, we will study why the panel of justices rejected the appeal," he said as quoted by on Friday.

"We will also study every possibility to ask for a case review later on."

A case review could be made if prosecutors could present new, solid evidence that could influence the previous ruling's integrity.

Choirul Anam from the Solidarity Alliance for Munir (KASUM) regretted the ruling, saying such a ruling had betrayed public justice.

"Thus I strongly encourage the prosecutors and the police to find novum [new evidence] and request a case review after that."

Muchdi is a retired army major general accused of masterminding Munir's murder in 2004.

The accusation toward Muchdi was a result of follow ups made toward evidence found in the trial of Polycarpus Budihari Priyanto, a former pilot of flag carrier Garuda Indonesia.

Polycarpus was sent to 20 years in prison for his role in the murder.

He is serving his term at the Cipinang Penitentiary in East Jakarta.

It was revealed in Polycarpus' trial that there had been more than 40 phone calls made between Polycarpus and Muchdi.

Some of the calls were made through private number while the other made using telephone numbers owned by the State Intelligence Agency (BIN).

The phone calls were denied by Muchdi, who said that such calls could have been made by other people.

"Even my driver used to play with my cellular phone," Muchdi once told the court.

Later on during Muchdi's trial, the relationship between Muchdi and the murder was also revealed by testimonies made by former BIN agents.

However, all agents later retracted their written testimonies saying that they were not serious with the testimonies.

The agents also said that they had written the testimonies under pressure.

In addition to Polycarpus, two other people had been brought to the court in the murder case.

Former Garuda secretary, Rohainil Aini, was acquitted by the panel of judges after it failed to find any connections between her and the murder.

Meanwhile, former Garuda president director, Indra Setiawan, was sentenced 16 months for his role in the murder.

Munir was found dead abroad a Garuda aircraft just before arriving in Amsterdam. The flight included a stopover in Singapore.

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