Don’t just stop at the person who actually murdered Munir: Kontras

Republika – December 6, 2004
Garuda pilot Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto (Liputan 6)
Garuda pilot Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto (Liputan 6)

Dwo, Jakarta – It is hoped that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will immediately form a special team which can handle the murder of human rights activist Munir. According to a statement by the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), if this is not done they are concerned that the culprit who is arrested will only be the person who actually committed the murder.

“We want there to be a concrete response from President Yudhoyono to solve this case”, said Kontras coordinator Usman Hamid on Saturday December 5. The concrete response meant by Hamid is the formation of a special team directly backed up by the president.

Hamid hopes that the team will be formed this week. So far he said, the president has only given a positive response to the investigation but in real terms emphasised Hamid, there have yet to be any steps taken by the president to investigate the case thoroughly.

The investigation of Munir’s case he continued, cannot be completely handed over to the police as Kontras predicts that the police will encounter various cultural and structural obstacles. As a consequence said Hamid, the investigation of the case will not reach the person or groups who had an interest in seeing Munir dead but will only be limited to the person who actually killed him or even just finding someone to be a scapegoat.

In relation to the police investigation, after questioning Munir’s wife, Suciwati, on Saturday the police questioned Jamal, Munir’s younger brother. Jamal was accompanied by Indonesian Human Rights Watch (Imparsial) executive-secretary Poengky Indarti and his lawyer, Iskandar Sonhaji. Jamal arrived at police headquarters at around 11am and only left at 1.45pm. He was questioned for some 2.5 hours. The head of the police’s postal division, Suyitno Landung, said that Jamal’s questioning was only to delve further into the case but declined to elaborate on the substance of the investigation.

Prior to seeking information from Jamal, police had already requested information from 47 people including 41 Garuda Indonesia Airlines crew members, a doctor, five of Munir’s friends from Imparsial and Suciwati. Eleven of them are still to be questioned including the Garuda pilot Pollycarpus. Pollycarpus was the one who gave Munir a seat in business class even though he should have been in economy. In addition to this Pollycarpus is suspected to have phoned Munir’s house 2-3 days before Munir left for the Netherlands. Pollycarpus has denied any involvement in the death or that he phoned Munir. Pollycarpus believes that he is intentionally being a the scapegoat.

[Slightly abridged translation by James Balowski.]