Subject: Munir Update: Arrest Former Intel Officer: Activists [+Families of the Missing]

also: JP: Rights activists demand more action; 'House should not interfere with court'

The Jakarta Post

Friday, January 18, 2008

Arrest former intelligence officier: Activists

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

An alliance of human rights activists demanded Thursday the arrest of a former top intelligence officer for questioning around the 2004 murder of fellow rights campaigner Munir Said Thalib.

Former State Intelligence Agency (BIN) deputy chief Muchdi Purwo Prandjono should be made a suspect in the case after his name was linked by a BIN agent to the murder, the alliance said.

Head of the Solidarity Action Committee For Munir (KASUM) Asmara Nababan said Muchdi should first be indicted on charges of perjury.

During a court session in 2005, Muchdi denied he knew or made telephone conversations with acquitted convict Pollycarpus Budihari Prijanto.

"If Muchdi has been named a suspect, prosecutors can proceed with further probes to find whether he is involved in the death of Munir or not," Asmara said.

"And if Muchdi is involved, we want the investigation to proceed to reveal the roles of other officers in the assassination."

On Tuesday, prosecutors at the Central Jakarta District Court presented a written statement from BIN agent Budi Santoso proving Muchdi and former Garuda pilot Pollycarpus had established a relationship.

Budi failed to appear in court but in a written testimony said: "Pollycarpus called me several times asking whether Muchdi was at the office or not. I was also often ordered by Muchdi to check on where Pollycarpus was. When Pollycarpus came under investigation by the police, Muchdi also ordered me to give him between Rp 3 million to 4 million (around US$270 to $360) on two or three different occasions."

Pollycarpus, who was present at the court hearing, denied Budi's testimony.

KASUM secretary and coordinator of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) Usman Hamid said the police should take Budi's testimony into serious consideration.

The testimony also confirmed previously presented evidence including records of telephone conversations and short messages between Pollycarpus and Muchdi.

"Now that BIN agent Budi has upheld the discovery, the police should have no more excuse to name Muchdi a suspect," Usman said.

"They should have even declared him a suspect once Budi provided prosecutors with the written statement."

During a Pollycarpus trial in November 2005, Muchdi, who was presented as a witness, denied he had made the telephone conversations or sent the short messages.

He said someone else had used his mobile phone to contact Pollycarpus.

At the Thursday news conference, Munir's widow Suciwati said the fact-finding team, an ad-hoc agency formed by the government to probe Munir's death, had faced many difficulties in attempts to reveal the involvement of BIN in the case.

"The investigation and evidence have clearly led us to an indication of BIN's involvement," she said.

"(The evidence indicates) at least the spy agency has provided facilities, such as telephones, for people implicated in the murder.

"And based on all the findings, the police and our judicial institutions should have no more reasons to avoid probing the BIN over the murder case," Suciwati said.

Munir, a vocal and staunch critic of the Indonesian Military (TNI) for its involvement in human rights violations across the country, was found dead on board a Garuda Indonesia flight on Sept. 7, 2004.

A post mortem examination showed he died from arsenic poison.

To-date, the police have named three suspects -- Pollycarpus, former Garuda president director Indra Setiawan and secretary to Garuda's chief pilot Rohainil Aini. (lln)


The Jakarta Post Friday, January 18, 2008

Rights activists demand more action

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Families of missing human rights activists demanded President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono fulfill his election promise to resolve human rights violation cases.

The Association of Relatives of Missing People (IKOHI)'s chairman Mugiyanto said Thursday the government's poor handling of such cases had left thousands of families in the dark on the whereabouts of their loved ones.

He said the government lacked the will to deal with the cases.

"The government isn't serious (about this) yet.

"The state is implementing the so-called politics of forgetting. We are made to forget the New Order regime transgressions."

He said he regretted recent initiatives that would see former president Suharto pardoned. "How can we gloss over bleak pages of our past," he asked, referring specifically to state-sponsored violence in 1965 and the 1989 Talang Sari massacre in Lampung.

Human rights activist Rido Triawan said, "The president can't speak on people's behalf and forgive Soeharto just like that.

"Legally speaking, Yudhoyono would need to grant amnesty or grace, but how can he grant that to someone who has never been tried ..."

As the right of New Order regime victims, Rido and Mugiyanto demanded investigations be resumed in unresolved cases including cases that had been dismissed by the Attorney General's Office (AGO).

Based on reports of missing persons received by IKOHI from families and relatives of the missing, the organization says at least 14 people disappeared between 1997 and 1998, just prior to the resignation of strongman Soeharto.

They said such disappearances should be the subject of ad-hoc human rights tribunals in order to provide legal and psychological closure to victims.

Most of those who went missing were pro-democracy activists, among them Democratic People's Party members Herman Hendrawan, Ucok Munandar Siahaan, Yadin Muhidin and Hendra Hambali; street singer and poet Widji Thukul; and three members of the United Development Party, Deddy Hamdun, Noval Alkatiri and Ismail.

IKOHI also advocates the causes of victims of human rights cases such as the killings in 1965-66 of alleged communists, the 1984 Tanjung Priok massacre and cases arising during the Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam conflict.

"The president should recall the promises he made when he first assumed the presidency, namely resolving past cases of human rights abuse," Rido said, adding that human rights laws enacted in 1999 and 2000 needed to be revised to give greater authority to the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM).

"Komnas HAM must have the same autonomy and authority as the Corruption Eradication Commission. Otherwise, we remain stuck with the AGO, which has so far stifled efforts to resolve human rights abuse."

Mugiyanto added, "The current regime needs to refer back to its founding principles and shift its paradigm from empty human rights rhetoric to substantial justice." (amr)


The Jakarta Post

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

'House should not interfere with court'

JAKARTA: Legislators should not interfere with the authority of Constitutional Court judges on matters related to an ad-hoc human rights court, an expert witness told the Court on Monday.

Criminal code expert Arif Amrullah of the University of Jember in East Java said the authority of the House of Representatives did not extend to the criminal justice system.

"Any interference from the House would go against Article 24, clause 3, of the 1945 Constitution on the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court," said Arif, who was testifying at a judicial review requested by convicted human rights abuser Eurico Guterres.

Eurico had lodged a judicial review request at the Court over the 2000 law on the establishment of a human rights court.

He had also requested the Court abolish Article 43, clause 2, which states a human rights court is to be established based on the suggestion of the House and the endorsement of the President.

Guterres said the human rights court should be based on a law instead of a presidential decree. (JP/amr)

Joyo Indonesia News Service

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