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  • » 01/26/2008, 00.00


    The Munir case is closed: 20 years for the former Garuda airline pilot

    Mathias Hariyadi

    Pollycarpus Priyanto was the only person charged in the poisoning of the well-known Indonesian activist Munir, who was killed in 2004. One year ago, Privanto was cleared of the charges against him, but last summer the case was reopened on the basis of new evidence that also pointed toward the secret service.

    Jakarta (AsiaNews) - The Indonesian Supreme Court has closed its long investigation into the murder of well-known human rights activist Munir Thalib. Overturning an earlier sentence, the judges definitively condemned to 20 years in prison the former pilot for the Garuda airline, Pollycarpus Priyanto, found guilty of poisoning Munir while he was travelling between Jakarta and Singapore in 2004.

    Munir was an unsettling person in Indonesia: he had denounced the military involvement in the repression in East Timor, and in 1999 he was appointed to a UN investigation committee on the violation of human rights in the former Portuguese colony occupied by Jakarta.

    In recent years, the case was very closely followed by the Indonesian and international press. After the reading of his guilty sentence, Pollycarpus said that he was a "scapegoat", the victim of a "media campaign" mounted against him. Pollycarpus, a Catholic who lived between Papua and East Timor, continues to deny the accusations.

    In December of 2005, the district tribunal of central Jakarta had sentenced the pilot to 14 years in prison, for the commission of the crime and for "falsification of documents". But in 2006, Jakarta's high court ruled that there was not sufficient proof to demonstrate responsibility in the assassination, while confirming the two-year prison sentence for the falsification of documents. This sentence was later reaffirmed by the Supreme Court as well. Then, in July of 2007, Jakarta's procurator general reopened the case on the basis of new evidence and witnesses, including the former president of the airline, Indra Setiawan, and an agent of the national intelligence service, Raden Muhammad Patma Anwar. There are many activists who continue to point to the Indonesian secret service as the real culprits behind the assassination.

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    See also

    16/04/2007 INDONESIA
    Munir murder: ex Garuda chairman arrested
    Following the acquittal in appeal of the only person condemned in the case, police arrest two other suspects, a former airline company president and an executive secretary. Investigation is now focusing on fake papers.

    24/08/2007 INDONESIA
    Secret services involved in activist Munir’s death
    Indonesia’s Attorney General Office has formally requested the reopening of the case involving the death in 2004 of Indonesian human rights activist Munir. An audiotape seems to implicate the secret services who however deny the charges.

    05/10/2006 INDONESIA
    Pilot condemned for Munir murder soon to walk free

    The Supreme Court absolved Pollycarpus Priyant of the charge of poisoning the renowned Indonesian activist in 2004. His sentence has been slashed from 14 to two years' imprisonment and he may be free by March. The credibility of Indonesia's justice system is wavering.

    20/06/2008 INDONESIA
    Former Deputy intelligence chief arrested for murder of activist Munir
    Former Deputy Major General Muchdi Purwopranjono is suspected of involvement in the assassination of a well known human rights activist, poisoned on a Garuda flight in 2004. Munir’s wife describes the first steps towards finally “unveiling the vast plot” possibly orchestrated by the secret services.

    10/12/2004 INDONESIA
    Investigation into the death of human rights activist
    Demands for an independent commission of inquiry into the death of Munir become louder. Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono reassures the public that every effort will be done to shed light on the death and pledges a new anti-corruption campaign.

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