For Immediate Release
Brenda Bowser Soder
Suspect in Indonesian Murder Case to Go Free
WASHINGTON - There has been a major setback for human rights in Indonesia. The Indonesian Supreme Court has posted a document
stating that on June 15 it denied the prosecutor's appeal of the
acquittal of former senior intelligence official Muchdi Purwopranjono
in the fatal 2004 poisoning of human rights defender Munir. No
information is given as to the basis for the denial. The Attorney
General should promptly request a case review (peninjauan kembali),
the last resort following an unfavorable Supreme Court decision, and
the police should continue the investigation of anyone suspected of
ordering or planning Munir's death.
"Just two days after
peaceful presidential elections signaled democratic progress in
Indonesia, the specter of impunity has returned, with the failure to
hold anyone accountable for Munir's death," said Tad Stahnke, Policy
and Program Director at Human Rights First. "President Yudhoyono should
use his new mandate to support the prosecutors and the police to solve
the murder of Munir once and for all."
Munir died in
September 2004 after he was poisoned with arsenic while traveling
abroad. Three airline employees, including one with links to the state
intelligence agency, have been convicted for carrying out or assisting
in the murder. However, no one has been successfully charged with
ordering or planning the murder of the prominent human rights lawyer.
Rights First has followed the case closely since 2004 and has observed
several of the trials. The organization identified a number of
irregularities in the trial of Muchdi, including indications of witness
tampering and the presence of intimidating groups in the courtroom.
Human Rights First is a non-profit, nonpartisan international human rights organization based in New York and Washington D.C. Human Rights First believes that building respect for human rights and the rule of law will help ensure the dignity to which every individual is entitled and will stem tyranny, extremism, intolerance, and violence.