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Statute of limitations on Marsinah murder case expires next year

Viva News - May 7, 2012

Ita Lismawati F. Malau, Oscar Ferri Ė After 19 years and 14 years of reformasi (the reform process beginning in 1998), Marsinah's killer has still not been found. The government is being called on not to neglect the case until the 20-year statute of limitations for murder cases expires.

According to Free Women National Committee (KNPM) spokesperson Vivi Widyawati, after 19 years the impression is that the government is going to leave the Marsinah case unsolved.

"Next year the Marsinah case will be exactly 20 years old. After 20 years the statute of limitations will expire if it is not resolved", said Vivi during a press conference at the offices of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) in Jakarta on Monday May 7.

Vivi believes that the government is not serious about catching Marsinah's killer. In her view the government has no interest in resolving cases of human rights violations and women's rights.

Marsinah, said Vivi, represents and illustration of a women worker who became a victim of collaboration between employers and the military. According to Vivi, this kind of collaboration is not unusual. Because under the concept of the state that sides with capital, the military are always needed and used to protect the capitalist's means of production.

Vivi explained that the New Order government of former President Suharto did indeed attempt to resolve the case by trying the alleged perpetrators. "However, this was only a drama. Just lies, manipulation, because justice during the new Order always attempted to cover up the military's involvement", she said.

A similar view was expressed by Marsinah FM Radio public relations officer Dian Septi Trisnanti. Dian also accused the government of not being serious about resolving gross human rights violations. "There is an impression that the government wants to let the Marsinah case expire", she said.

Even though the Marsinah case remains a mystery, these activists continue to demand that case be reopened. Because of this, continued Dian, they are demanding that the government fully investigate the case and arrest all those who have attempted to interfere with or conceal material evidence related to the Marsinah case.

On May 8, 1993, Marsinah's body was found sprawled in an open hut on the edge of a rice field near a teak forest in Jegong hamlet, Wilangan village, Nganjuk regency, East Java. Her body was found after she went missing on May 5 after leading a strike at the PT Catur Putra Surya watch factory. There were numerous injuries on her body and it is suspected that she suffered severe physical violence and sexual abuse before she died.

Prior to her death, Marsinah had made a protest with the Sidoarjo district military command (Kodim) over the arrest of 13 of her colleges who were physically and psychologically pressured into signing letters of resignation. On the same year that she was killed, Marsinah received the Yap Thiam Hien human rights award. (umi)


Marsinah was a women activist who led a strike at the PT Catur Putra Surya watch factory in Surabaya, East Java. On May 8, 1993, three days after the strike, her body was found in a remote hut. The medical examination found that she had died as a result of injuries inflicted during torture. Although there was considerable circumstantial evidence that she had been kidnapped and killed by the military, in 1994 nine managerial personnel and security guards from the factory were tried and convicted of the murder. All of the defendants claimed that they had been tortured in order to extract confessions. On May 5, 1995, all nine were released.

[Tahun Depan, Kasus Marsinah Kedaluwarsa - VIVAnews. Senin, 7 Mei 2012. Translated by James Balowski.]

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