Suspect in Indonesian Murder Case to Go Free
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.
Human 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.