Munir’s murder a form of state violence: Billah

Tempo Interactive – November 22, 2004
Todung Mulya Lubis (middle) and M.M Billah (left) (Antara)
Todung Mulya Lubis (middle) and M.M Billah (left) (Antara)

Indra Darmawan, Jakarta – Leading non-government organisation (NGO) figures are urging the government to form an independent team to investigate Munir’s murder. This was revealed at a consultative meeting of the People’s Representative Assembly (DPR) Commission on Legal and Human Rights Affairs with NGO leaders at the third floor of the parliament’s Nusantara II Building in Jakarta on the afternoon of Monday November 22.

During the meeting, leading human rights advocate Todung Mulya Lubis said that he had already written a letter to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono asking him to guarantee that Munir’s case would be fully investigated. That is to form an independent investigation team made up of public figures which is truly credible and trustworthy. “This is our appeal, that [the truth behind] Munir’s tragic death can be uncovered”, he said.

The NGO activists are questioning developments in the investigation being conducted by police. They are asking the police to inform Munir’s family as well as the public about developments in the case. They have been trying to meet with the chief director, the pilot and Garuda air hostess to investigate the case. Lubis admitted however that it was not easy.

Civil rights lawyer Adnan Buyung Nasution took the opportunity to say that he is extremely disappointed over the case. “I protest and [I] am deeply disappointed with the department of foreign affairs”, he said. He said he had repeatedly tried to phone Foreign Affairs Minister Hassan Wirajuda to ask about the issue but the phone is never picked up. Nasution believes this is evidence that the changes and transparency which the new government has been carrying on about are just empty words. “It’s all bullshit”, he said.

MM Billah from the National Human Rights Commission meanwhile said that Munir’s murder is a form of political violence by the state or at the very least a section of the state. According to Billah this has occurred again and again and if the DPR’s Commission on Legal and Human Rights Affairs does not act it will be taken as sanctioning continued political assignations in Indonesia.

The NGO leaders also urged the commission to pressure the government to form an independent investigation team. In addition to Lubis and Nasution, also present at the meeting was the chairperson of the Indonesian Legal Aid Association (PBHI), Hendardi, Smitha Notosusanto from the Centre for Electoral Reform (Cetro), Ikrar Nusa Bakti from the Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI) and Munir’s wife, Suciwati.

[Translated by James Balowski.]