Two years after Munir’s death Yudhoyono must reaffirm his commitment

Source – September 6, 2006
Former Garuda Airlines pilot Pollycarpus Priyanto testifies in court (Tempo)
Former Garuda Airlines pilot Pollycarpus Priyanto testifies in court (Tempo)

Indra Subagja, Jakarta – After two years the Munir case remains unsolved. Only former Garuda Airlines pilot Pollycarpus Priyanto has been convicted for the murder of the former human rights activist. The family and friends of the late Munir say there are strong political reason why the case has not been solved yet.

“The problem is not a technical one, it depends on the [political] will of the president and then the police. But there is a tendency for President SBY (Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono) to vacillate over the impact of the case being solved. SBY tends to try to avoid the political implications”, said Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence coordinator Usman Hamid when speaking to in Jakarta on Wednesday September 6.

According to Hamid, the key to cracking the case is in the hands of the president. The police only go with the political flow, so the president must restate his desire for the investigation into the case to be completed. “It has been two years already, we hope that the president will reaffirm his commitment by forming a new team or by ordering the police to reinvestigate the case properly”, he asserted.

Hamid said that if police insist that the technical obstacle hindering the investigation is Pollycarpus being unwilling to provide information then there would be no significant progress in the case. “Whereas the police have the authority to question additional witnesses, also to conduct raids and seizures, including asking Telkom for the recording of the conversation [between Pollycarpus and an official at the National Intelligence Agency]”, explained Hamid.

In addition to this, Hamid said that the police citing the obstacle of not having investigated the scene of the crime is just a manufactured excuse. “The police’s argument has no basis, the Dutch [police] have not conducted an investigation at the scene of the crime, because that comes under Indonesia’s authority. I suspect the police are not being serious about completing the investigation into this case”, he said.

Hamid also said that the House of Representatives team formed to follow up the case has not worked optimally so it has been difficult to achieve any progress in solving the case. “What has been undertaken has been inadequate and only sought to highlight the obstacles and problems, but it should have been able to uncover everything”, he said.

In the lead up to the second anniversary of Munir’s murder on September 7, a number of events are planned including a book launch, a night of commemoration and a discussion about human rights defenders. (ndr)

[Translated by James Balowski.]