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Legal Aid Foundation urges Jokowi to solve 2004 murder of rights activist Munir

Kabar 24 - December 11, 2021

MG Noviarizal Fernandez, Bisnis.com, Jakarta – The Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) is urging President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to order the Indonesian police chief to fulfill the National Human Rights Commission's (Komnas HAM) recommendation on the 2004 assassination of renewed human rights defender Munir.

In a written statement posted on the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH Jakarta) website, the YLBHI stated that December 10 has been designated as International Human Rights Day since the United Nations General Assembly declared the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Indonesia has ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Convention on Civil and Political rights and the International Covent on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, as well as its derivative conventions.

Not only that, human rights guarantees are also regulated under several other Indonesian legal instruments.

"One of the groups or individuals which are very vulnerable to suffering violations are human rights defenders. Under the declaration on human rights defenders, every person has the right to advance and fight for the protection of human rights which the government and every organisation is obliged to protect. In reality however, human rights defenders often become the targets of intimidation, threats of violence and even murder", said the group.

One such case which has still not been resolved by the state is the assignation Munir Said Thalib, a human rights defender widely known by the public who died after being poisoned on Garuda Indonesia Airlines flight GA 974 bound for Amsterdam on September 7, 2004.

The assassination of Munir was not an ordinary criminal case because it involved state actors, namely the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) and Garuda Indonesia.

It is a case filled with conspiracy and when it was brought to trial it failed to reveal all of the actors, only the actor in the field who was tried and sentenced.

The Fact Finding Team (TPF) formed by the government of former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono found that the investigation in to Munir's assassination stopped with the perpetrator on the ground.

Yet according to the TPF's conclusions and the court which reaffirmed the sentence against former Garuda Indonesia pilot Pollycarpus Budihari Priyatno and Garuda Director Indra Setiawan, "The Munir assignation was a criminal conspiracy involving four layers of perpetrators: the field operatives, those who assisted them, those who provided access and the initiators of the assassination".

The case was a high level conspiracy involving state institutions.

Because of this, the YLBHI and the LBH Jakarta are urging President Widodo to order the Indonesian police chief to follow up on a letter by Komnas HAM on recommendations related to the handling of the Munir case.

They also called on Komnas HAM to declare the Munir case as a gross human rights violation and following on from this conduct an independent investigation into the case as mandated under Law Number 26/2000 on a Human Rights Court.

"The Indonesian government must ensure that the state is responsible for guaranteeing the respect, legal protection and the fulfillment of human rights for all citizens, including the acknowledgement and protection of human rights defenders through adequate regulations", the group explained.

The president must also order the Indonesian police chief and the Attorney General's Office to ensure that law enforcement is fair and just in cases which befall rights defenders and that they not be used a tool of power to commit terror and criminalisation of human rights defenders.


Munir died of arsenic poisoning onboard a Garuda Indonesia flight on September 7, 2004. Although off-duty pilot Pollycarpus Priyanto was convicted of the 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 "YLBHI Desak Jokowi Tuntaskan Kasus Pembunuhan Munir".]

Source: https://kabar24.bisnis.com/read/20211211/16/1476496/ylbhi-desak-jokowi-tuntaskan-kasus-pembunuhan-muni