Wikileaks source Sutanto backpedals on intelligence agency role in Munir murder

Kompas – September 13, 2011
Thursday action at State Palace calling for resolution of Munir case (Tempo)
Thursday action at State Palace calling for resolution of Munir case (Tempo)

Jakarta – State Intelligence Agency (BIN) chief Sutanto has refuted a leaked Jakarta United States Embassy diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks. According to the leak, when Sutanto was the National Police Chief in 2006, he met with US Ambassador Lynn B Pascoe and mentioned the involvement of BIN in the murder of human rights activist Munir Said Thalib (see below).

“Previously what was conveyed came from the results of the investigation, it did not cite an institution. There was a specific communication that that was under judicial process and revealed in the [court] hearing. However in court it was declared unproven and [the individual] was released”, said Sutanto on Monday September 12 at the State Palace complex.

Sutanto explained that what was conveyed was not an intelligence agency, but rather a rogue intelligence operative. The issue has already been reveled in court and it can be seen who the person was. “I did not mention an intelligence agency. Just rogue [intelligence operatives] and that was revealed in court and it can be seen who they are”, he said.

It was hoped that Sutanto would be willing to provide information to help resolve the Munir murder case. Solidarity Action Committee for Munir (Kasum) member Choirul Anam said that the leaked Jakarta US Embassy cable in 2006 released by Wikileaks shows that Sutanto had information on the involvement of BIN in Munir’s murder.

“The information has never been refuted by the US. The diplomatic cable coded 06Jakarta9575 relates to a meeting by [then] National Police Chief Sutanto and US Ambassador Lynn B. Pascoe. Sutanto expressed a strong suspicion of BIN’s involvement in Munir’s murder”, said Anam in Jakarta on Monday. This information said Anam, should be used as new evidence in order to uncover the actors behind the scenes and fully resolve the Munir murder case.

Another Kasum member, Al Araf, said that Sutanto’s position in BIN would make it even easier to expose the truth behind the case.

Speaking separately, Attorney General Basrief Arief responded to an open letter sent to him by Amnesty International from the dimension of general crimes and human rights. Speaking on Sunday evening in Padang, West Sumatra, after receiving an award as the best alumni at the Andalas University Faculty of Law, Arief said that there are two dimensions in the open letter that conflict with the Attorney Generals Office’s (AGO) authority.

The Amnesty International letter, which was sent to Arief on September 6, primarily contained a request by 16 Amnesty International directors to conduct a new investigation into Munir’s death. Arief said that in criminal terms, the AGO is not an investigator of general crimes. In terms of human rights, it would have to be proceeded by an investigation by the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM). “Of course an ad hoc court would have to exist. So the open [letter] was indeed for us, but the problem is the authority to carry out the task”, he said.

In relation to efforts to conduct a judicial review on the case, Arief said that this is not the authority of the AGO. (ONG/INK/WHY)

Notes: Section of US diplomatic cable on Munir case

Reference ID: 06JAKARTA9575
Created: 2006-07-28 10:43
Released: 2011-08-30 01:44
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Origin: Embassy Jakarta

16. (C) In a private sidebar following the meeting, the Ambassador enquired about the Munir case. Sutanto assured the Ambassador that the INP [Indonesian National Police – JB] is serious about the investigation and believed it to be an important case for the country, and an important feather in INP’s cap. With surprising candor, Sutanto said he was convinced that the National Intelligence Agency (BIN) was involved in the murder, but still lacked conclusive evidence. Sutanto said current BIN Chief Syamsir Siregar is sympathetic and cooperating with the INP, although other ‘old school’ BIN officials are not.

Source: Kematian Munir: Sutanto Bantah Keterlibatan Intelijen – Kompas. Selasa, 13 September 2011

 [Translated by James Balowski.]