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Rights commission questions activist over missing Munir murder case dossier

Kompas.com - March 15, 2024

Icha Rastika, Jakarta – The National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) asked about the case dossier on the results of an investigation by the Fact Finding Team (TPF) that looked into the 2004 assassination of renewed human rights defender Munir Said Talib when it questioned Usman Hamid on Friday March 15.

Hamid, who is now the executive director of Amnesty International Indonesia, said that during the examination, the Komnas HAM ad hoc team for the Munir case asked whether the document was handed over directly to the president at the time, namely Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY).

"On the process of handing over the TPF dossier, which is reportedly missing, I was asked again, is it true that at that time it was handed over? I said it was", said Hamid at the Komnas HAM offices in Jakarta on Friday March 15.

Hamid said his testimony is supported by a statement by then president Yudhoyono who once held a press conference on the matter in 2016.

"Precisely (the facts of the handover) are easier (to trace) now, Pak [Mr] SBY and his ministers once held a press conference and acknowledged that the document was received", said Hamid.

He also said that Yudhoyono not only acknowledged receiving the TPF document, but even explained that he had given a copy to other government officials including the national police chief, the Attorney General, the head of the State Intelligence Agency (BIN), the Justice and Human Rights Minister and the cabinet secretary.

In addition to this, Hamid also admitted he was questioned about the investigation and what exactly was done by the TPF to uncover the facts behind Munir's assignation.

Hamid claimed they carried out an extensive investigation, starting from immigration circles, then examining the airport manager Angkasa Pura to summoning senior officials from BIN.

"Now, related to this, then there was digging into the role of Pollycarpus [Budihari Priyanto], then the role of others at the crime scene, or other people who were [involved] in carrying out the planning of Munir's murder", he said.

Hamid was also asked about the reasons why the TPF conducted a preconstruction of the Munir murder case, including tracing phone numbers and the conversations of the alleged perpetrators who were dragged into court.

Earlier, the Komnas HAM summoned Hamid and Munir's wife Suciwati as witnesses in their investigation to determine whether or not the Munir murder case can be categorised as a gross human rights violation.

The examination is a bright spot in hopes for a point of clarity in the Munir murder case since the commission formed the Gross Human Rights Violations Ad Hoc Investigation Team on September 20, 2022.

The ad hoc team is a legacy of the previous Komnas HAM commissioner that is being continued and has now entered the stage of examining witnesses.

The Solidarity Action Committee for Munir (KASUM) believes that the Munir murder case deserves to be declared a gross human rights violation because it involved state officials and was carried out in a structured and systematic manner.

Munir died on September 7, 2004, on Garuda Indonesia flight GA-974 from Jakarta to Amsterdam via Singapore. He died about two hours before the plane landed at Schipol Airport in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, at 8.10 am local time.

The autopsy results found traces of arsenic in the body of the former chairperson of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras).

Legal proceedings against the people considered to be involved in Munir's murder have already been conducted.

A court handed down a sentence of 14 years in prison for former Garuda Airlines pilot Priyanto. The court also sentenced the president director of Garuda Indonesia at that time, Indra Setiawan, to one year in prison. He was considered to have put Priyanto on the same flight as Munir.

A number of facts emerged during the trial citing the alleged involvement of BIN senior officials in the murder, but none were ever found guilty by the courts.

On December 13, 2008, a court found former BIN Deputy Muchdi Purwoprandjono not guilty and he was released on all charges.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Ke Usman Hamid, Komnas HAM Tanya soal Penyerahan Dokumen TPF Munir ke Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono".]

Source: https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2024/03/15/19003591/ke-usman-hamid-komnas-ham-tanya-soal-penyerahan-dokumen-tpf-munir-ke-sb