Ihsanuddin, Jakarta – Amnesty International Executive Director Usman Hamid has again called on President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to keep his pledge to solve the 2004 assassination of human rights activist Munir Said Thalib.
Today, 16 years ago, Munir died aboard a Garuda Indonesia flight for Amsterdam, Holland. The autopsy results showed that Munir had died of arsenic poisoning.
"We demand that President Joko Widodo, who made a public pledge to resolve this case, take action which is clear and concrete", said Hamid in a press release on Monday September 7.
Jokowi pledged to solve the Munir case when he met with a number of legal practitioners at the State Palace in September 2016.
According to Hamid, Widodo could take concrete action to fulfill his promise such as conducting a review of the various criminal cases related to Munir's murder.
"We believe that Munir's assassination cannot be seen as a normal criminal case that stands alone", he said.
Hamid however does not see that there has been any process in the independent examination of the case. The principal actors behind the murder – who are believed to be from politically influential circles – have yet to be taken to court.
Hamid said that this has made the public question the government's commitment to protect human rights defenders.
The murder, which continues to be neglected without resolution, said Hamid, indicates that there is a culture of impunity which is spreading to attacks and violence against human rights defenders.
"With a murder which was totally inhuman and allegations of the involvement of people who have power, we demand that the state immediately acknowledge that Munir's murder was a gross human rights violation. The state must respond to this more seriously", said Hamid.
Although off-duty pilot Pollycarpus Priyanto was convicted of Munir's murder in 2005 the alleged mastermind behind the assassination, former National Intelligence Agency (BIN) deputy Muchdi Purwoprandjono, was later acquitted of all charges. Also implicated in the murder but never investigated was former BIN chief AM Hendropriyono. Hendropriyono, a close ally of Megawati Sukarnoputri – the chairperson of President Joko Widodo's ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) – was cited in US diplomatic cables leaked in 2011 as being involved in the planning of Munir's murder.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "16 Tahun Kasus Pembunuhan Munir, Janji Jokowi Kembali Ditagih".]