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New book set to shed light on Munir murder

Jakarta Post - May 26, 2022

Dio Suhenda, Jakarta – New York-based publisher The New Press is set to launch a new book titled "We Have Tired of Violence" by Matt Easton, geared to shedding light on the death of human rights activist Munir Said Thalib, which occurred close to 18 years ago.

Drawing on evidence gathered by Munir's family, Easton makes a case that the activist's murder was ordered by an Indonesian government agency.

The book is set to be launched in early June and is based on author Easton's interviews, courtroom observation, leaked documents and police files. Easton is a writer and a human rights researcher who had previously lived and worked in Indonesia.

In the book, Easton covers many aspects leading up to Munir's murder, and includes multiple chapters, spanning all the way between Munir's early days as an attorney with the East Java Legal Aid Institute (LBH), to the aftermath of his death.

It will also include details from Munir's wife, Suciwati, and his close friend and fellow human rights activist, Usman Hamid, who now serves as Amnesty International Indonesia's executive director.

Munir was killed with a lethal dose of arsenic thought to have been ingested during a stopover in Singapore on a Garuda flight from Jakarta to Amsterdam on Sept. 6, 2004. Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto was assigned as an aviation security officer on the flight.

Pollycarpus was sentenced to 14 years in prison at the end of 2005 for his role in the murder and finished serving his prison time in 2018. He died of COVID-19 on Oct. 17 last year.

Former Garuda cabin crew member Rohainil Aini was jailed for a year for being an accessory to the murder, but the alleged mastermind, former deputy of the State Intelligence Agency (BIN), Muchdi Purwoprandjono, was acquitted of all charges at the end of 2007.

Based on evidence gathered by Munir's family, Easton contends that Pollycarpus was acting on orders from the intelligence agency.

"With a meticulously detailed and accurate reconstruction of the events of Munir's murder, "We Have Tired of Violence" charts the activist's resistance to the authoritarian regime," journalist and author Leila Chudori said, as quoted by the book's publisher.

Munir's death has been one of Indonesia's rallying cries for human rights activists, with many still of the opinion that the mastermind behind Munir's death is still at large.

Born in 1965, Munir was 38 years old when he died, and left his widow Suciwati and two children. He was active during the 1998 student demonstration, which saw Soeharto's New Order regime come to an end.

He also founded the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (KontraS) and was involved in the human rights investigation team into the brutal murder of labor activist Marsinah on May 8, 1993.

The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) formed a new investigation team in September last year to dig deeper into Munir's murder.

It came following activists' pleas for the commission to declare Munir's murder a gross human rights violation, out of fear that if the Munir case is treated as an ordinary crime, the 18-year statute of limitations on murder laid out in the Criminal Code will apply and any investigation will soon lapse.

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/indonesia/2022/05/25/new-book-set-to-shed-light-on-munir-murder.htm