NGOs urge police to investigate threats against Munir’s family

Source – November 21, 2004
Suciwati with her two children and family members at Munir's grave (Tempo)
Suciwati with her two children and family members at Munir's grave (Tempo)

Arin Widiyanti, Jakarta – Indonesian Human Rights Watch (Imparsial) and the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) are urging the government and police to investigate threats which have been made against the family of the late Munir. The two non-government organisations (NGOs) are also asking security forces to provide evidence that the TNI (armed forces) was not involved in Munir’s death.

This was conveyed in a statement at joint press conference by Kontras, Imparsial and Munir’s wife, Suciwati, which was read by Imparsial’s operational director Rusdi Marpaung at the Imparsial offices on Jalan Diponegoro in Jakarta on Monday November 21.

The press conference was held in response to threats which were received by Munir’s family on Saturday – a package containing a rotten chicken carcass was sent to the Munir residence on Jalan Cendana in the Jaka Permai housing complex in Bekasi, West Java. The package was accompanied by a threatening note which read “Beware don’t connect the TNI with Munir’s death. Want to end up like this (?!)”.

With regard to the threats, Imparsial, Kontras and Suciwati have come to three possible conclusions. First, that the incident is a form of intimidation aimed at the late Munir’s family. The aim being to threaten and hinder the ongoing investigation into Munir’s death so that there is not follow up.

Secondly, the incident is evidence which strengthens and confirms the suspicion that Munir’s death was not a natural one nor merely a simple criminal act. The death points to a politically motivated act of murder. The perpetrators are professional people and it was premeditated.

Thirdly, the message may on the one hand wish to discredit the institution of the TNI by attempting to connect the TNI in Munir’s death. On the other hand however, the message may really be intended to direct us toward the view that that the TNI actually was involved in Munir’s murder.

Putting aside these issues, Imparsial and Kontras are urging the government and police to search for the perpetrator of the threats. The government and police must also provide comprehensive protection to the family and other parties involved in resolving Munir’s death.

In addition to this, the human rights NGOs are also urging the police to establish the contents of the message. “Is it indeed true that the message is trying to discredit the TNI. [Or] on the other hand is the TNI indeed connected with Munir’s death”, said Marpaung.

Despite this they explained that the family and friends of the deceased would not be provoked into speculating whether the perpetrator was the TNI.

Finally, they urged the government to form a special presidential team to find Munir’s killers. They asked that the team involved the government, the National Human Rights Commission and other non-government organisations. (iy)

[Translated by James Balowski.]