Statement of Human Rights First on the Release of Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto
Following the early release from prison of Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto today, Human Rights First expressed outrage that no one has been held accountable for the killing of the leading human rights activist, Munir. The human rights organization called on President Yudhoyono to take effective action to identify and bring to justice those responsible for the September 2004 murder. Pollycarpus was the only person ever charged or convicted in the fatal poisoning of Munir. More than two years after the murder, not a single person is now in prison for the crime.
Munir's wife Suciwati recently came to the United States to accept an award from Human Rights First. She met with U.S. government and United Nations officials, who called on the Indonesian government to bring those responsible for this crime to justice. Human Rights First remains concerned that without political will to solve the crime, there will be no progress in the investigation.
President Yudhoyono should demonstrate political will by releasing publicly the report submitted to his office by an official fact-finding team, and creating a new investigatory commission with a robust mandate. He should also order an inquiry into why the police have been unable to investigate the murder effectively to date.
Pollycarpus' murder conviction was overturned on appeal in October, but he remained in jail on a forgery conviction in connection with irregular documents that facilitated his presence on the plane with Munir. His release was scheduled for March before his sentence was shortened by three months in keeping with the Indonesian practice of cutting sentences on national and religious holidays.