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Hendropriyono trying to divert attention away from Munir case

Detik.com - June 1, 2005

M. Rizal Maslan, Jakarta – Non-government organisation (NGO) activists have condemned the former chief of the National Intelligence Agency (BIN) AM Hendropriyono’s attack on the Munir Fact Finding Team (TPF). They believe that Hendropriyono is only seeking to sensationalise the issue and distract public attention from the case.

“We are questioning Hendro’s motive in issuing the statement. It is inappropriate for anyone who respects efforts to enforce the law [to say such things]”, said Edwin Partogi, the head of the operational division of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) at a press conference at the Kontras’ offices on Jalan Borobudur in Jakarta on Wednesday June 1.

As well as activists from Kontras, also present at the press conference was Johnson Panjaitan from the Indonesian Legal Aid and Human Rights Association (PBHI), Uli Parulian Sihombing from the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH), Hamid Mohammad from the Indonesian Environmental Forum (Walhi) and a number of other NGO activists.

According to Partogi, Hendropriyono’s statement that claims to respect the process of law is in contradiction with his unwillingness to provide information to the TPF. Moreover, Hendropriyono and his team of lawyers have raised questions about the importance of the Munir case and why President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono issued a presidential decree authorising the formation of the TPF.

 “We certainly suspect Hendropriyono’s sensationalist posture and statements are no more than an effort to provoke the TPF to become caught up in unnecessary matters. It also aims to distract the tremendous amount of public attention [away from] the Munir case”, said Partogi.

A similar view was expressed by Panjaitan who said that Hendropriyono wants do turn a legal matter into a personal one by suing the TPF. This is being done to intimidate the TPF and stop efforts to uncover the Munir case.

 “We haven’t forgotten the case of [the former head of PBHI] Hendardi who was sued by Hendropriyono resulting in his house being seized while the case being handled by Hendardi was in fact a purely legal one but he turned it into a personal one”, he said.

According to Johnson, people like Hendropriyono still have a lot of power. They are therefore asking law enforcement officials to prioritise the questioning of the former number one person at BIN. (gtp)

[Translated by James Balowski.]
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