Concern that Munir case will become political commodity in 2009 elections

Kompas – October 28, 2007
Kontras coordinator Usman Hamid (MI)
Kontras coordinator Usman Hamid (MI)

Palembang, Kompas – The Munir murder case could become a political commodity in the 2009 elections if the government does not quickly solve the issue. In the end the case will only be politicised to improve the image of the political parties, presidential candidates or to hit out at their political opponents.

This statement was made my the coordinator of the Commission for Missing Person and Victims of Violence (Kontras), Usman Hamid during a break in a discussion titled Democracy and Upholding Human Rights, which was organised by the Indonesian Flower Foundation (YPI) and the Indonesian Community for Democracy (KID) on Saturday October 27 in the South Sumatra city of Palembang.

Hamid said that up until now the Munir case has only raised as a political promise, but has never been fully resolved as an effort to uphold the law and justice. Moreover the case could be used to bring down political opponents.

“For example, the Munir murder case could be taken up to point out to the public that the murder occurred during the administration of [former President] Megawati [Sukarnoputri]. Meaning don’t vote for Megawati. But, I hope that will not happened because ideally the Munir case could be solved in 2008”, said Hamid.

According to Hamid, in judicial terms and based on the Criminal Procedural Code (KUHAP), the Munir case could be solved in 2008 because only one more step remains to be able to go after the intellectual actor behind the murder. This is because former Garuda Indonesia Airlines Executive Director Indra Setiawan has already admitted to writing a letter for Garuda pilot Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto – at the request of the deputy director of the National Intelligence Agency M. As’ad – to allow him to joint the flight on which Munir was poisoned.

“If by 2008 it’s still not solved, there is concern that this will really happen, that is that the Munir case will only become a political discourse in the lead up to the elections”, said Hamid.

Hamid asserted that even if the Munir case is not solved by 2008, Kontras will continue to fight for the case through the political parties as well as the presidential candidates that come forward in the 2009 elections.

He also confirmed that they would be intensifying their campaign so that the public becomes progressively more adroit, thorough and careful in choosing the political party and leader that is able to resolve outstanding legal and human rights cases, including the Munir case.

According to Hamid, they will also be conducting an international campaign. In November, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture will visit Jakarta along with a number of regions including Aceh and Papua. They will also be holding meetings with government agencies and several non-government organisations. Hamid said that this endeavour has made him optimistic that the Munir case can be resolved, providing that there is political will on the part of the government. (WAD)

[Translated by James Balowski.]