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Munir, Novel, and the four FPI members

Tempo - March 27, 2021

Jakarta – The investigation into the shooting of six FPI members must not stop at the perpetrators on the ground. This nation still has a deficit in the upholding of human rights.

The investigation into the shooting to death of six bodyguards of Rizieq Shihab is not simply in the interests of the families of the victims and members of the organization formerly known as Islam Defenders Front (FPI). If it is not investigated completely, this case could add to the nation's deficit in the enforcement of law and human rights. The police must provide further information about the findings of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) regarding the bloody incident at kilometer 50 on the Jakarta-Cikampek toll road. According to the Komnas HAM, two FPI members were killed in an exchange of fire with police officers on December 7, 2020. Meanwhile, the four other men are believed to have been unlawfully killed.

Although they are courageous, Komnas HAM's findings are still unclear. For example, how did the extra judicial killings occur? The police insist that the four FPI members were shot because they resisted arrest. But there are no witnesses apart from police officers to confirm this. Furthermore, it is not yet clear if the killings of other the two men were lawful.

Because the Komnas HAM did not carry out a pro justice investigation, the stage before a human rights trial, it is the police that must clarify the mystery surrounding the shootings of the FPI members. Unfortunately, the investigation by the police has yet to show any signs that this case will be resolved.

The police force has suspended the three officers alleged to have killed the four FPI members in the car. But the police have never published their names or explained their roles. Let us hope that these three officers are not simply scapegoats to protect their superiors. If the truth does not emerge, the police could be vulnerable to public accusations of concealing the perpetrators and punishing fictitious people.

More than just talking three police officers to court, the investigation should also reveal who bears ultimate responsibility for the trailing of Rizieq Shihab's group which ended with this shooting incident. Clearly the police are able to uncover this simple case. The problem is, do they have the will to do so.

Although the Komnas HAM did not conclude that the shooting of the FPI members was a serious breach of human rights, extrajudicial killings are clearly a human rights violation. The next task is not simply the technical issue of bringing the perpetrators to justice. The police must reveal whether there have been human rights violations. The fact that some FPI members frequently violated the rights of minorities must not be used to justify violations of their rights by law enforcement officers.

The problem is that our police have a poor track record in the upholding of human rights, especially if the victims are seen as opponents of the police or the government. Just look at the investigation into the attack on senior Corruption Eradication Commission investigator Novel Baswedan and the murder of human rights activist Munir Thalib. The police only arrested the perpetrators, and the people behind these two crimes were never revealed.

If no explanation is forthcoming, the shooting if the FPI members will haunt anyone who dares to oppose the government. The authorities could arbitrarily use the police as a tool for the repression of political opponents without having to take responsibility. Furthermore the shooting of the FPI members is not the only indication of increasing repression in this country. The muzzling and criminalization of activists and critics of the government by the police in a number of areas is another indication that is no less worrying.

Read the Complete Story in Tempo English Magazine: https://magz.tempo.co/read/37682/munir-novel-and-the-four-fpi-members

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1446582/munir-novel-and-the-four-fpi-member