Activists slam inclusion of spy implicated in Munir murder on Jokowi's rights team

Source – September 23, 2022
Rights activists deliver Munir postcard to State Secretariat in Jakarta – January 17, 2017 (Kompas)

Vitorio Mantalean, Jakarta – The Solidarity Action Committee for Munir (KASUM) says that the composition of the Team for the Non-Judicial Resolution of Past Gross Human Rights Violations (PPHAM), which was recently formed by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo is problematic.

KASUM is of the view that the team will become a "means to wash away the sins of perpetrators of past gross human rights violations" and proves that the state is perpetuating impunity. More specifically, KASUM is highlighting the presence of people on the team who have track records of involvement in rights abuses.

"This can be seen from the appointment of As'ad Said Ali as a team member. Yet, the name As'ad was cited in the special Fact Finding Team (TPF) [investigation] into the murder of human rights activist Munir Said Thalib as a person who is strongly suspected of being involved in Munir's assassination", said Andi Muhammad Rezaldi, the head of legal commission for the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) – which was originally established by Munir – in an official release on Friday September 23.

As’ad Ali was the deputy chief of the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) when Munir was murdered. Rezaldi again brought up the testimony given by former Garuda Indonesia Airlines Executive Director Indra Setiawan during his trial on charges of involvement in Munir's murder.

"He (Indra) explained that he 'wrote the letter of assignment because Pollycarpus [Budihari Priyanto] (a former Garuda Indonesia pilot convicted of Munir's murder) met with him in June or July 2004 at the Solo Bengawan Restaurant at the Sahid Hotel in Jakarta'", said Rezaldi.

"'During the meeting according to him, Pollycarpus showed him a written instruction from BIN which was signed by the BIN deputy chief at the time, As'ad Said Ali. The contents of the letter asked that Pollycarpus be assigned as a security officer on the grounds that PT Garuda Indonesia was a vital and stratigic company so security needed to be increased", he added.

KASUM believes that the PPHAM formed by President Widodo injures the victims and the families of the victims of gross human rights violations in Indonesia.

By pursuing a non-judicial path as a solution to settle past gross human rights violations instead of a judicial process, the president is also still giving space to people with problematic track records.

"The president's move will only strengthen the position that the government does indeed not have the political will to uncover the truth and provide justice to the victims", said Rezaldi.

The PPHAM was formed on August 26 through Presidential Decree Number 17/2022. The steering team as stipulated under Article 6 is comprised of Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs Mahfud MD as the chairperson and Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture Muhadjir Effendy as deputy chairperson.

The members of the steering team are Justice and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani, Social Affairs Minister Tri Rismaharini and Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko.

Meanwhile the members of the implementation team as stipulated under Article 7 are former UN ambassador Makarim Wibisono as the chairperson, former National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) Chairperson Ifdhal Kasim as the deputy chairperson and former Judicial Commission chairperson Suparman Marzuki as the secretary.

The members of the implementation team are Apolo Safanpo, Mustafa Abubakar, Harkristuti Harkrisnowo, As'ad Said Ali, Kiki Syahnakri, Zainal Arifin Mochtar, Akhmad Muzakki, Komaruddin Hidayat and Rahayu


The letter of assignment written by Indra Setiawan allowed Pollycarpus to board the same Garuda Indonesia Airlines flight on September 7, 2004 from Jakarta to Amsterdam as Munir, aboard which he died of arsenic poisoning two hours before landing in the Netherlands. Pollycarpus was later tried and convicted for poisoning Munir during the flight or a stopover in Singapore.

In addition to As'ad Said Ali, the other member of the team that has attracted criticism from rights activists is former Army Deputy Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Kiki Syahnakri, who was appointed commander of the TNI (Indonesian military) in East Timor in September 1999 after pro-Jakarta militiamen went on a violent rampage in the wake of the independence vote. Along with former armed forces chief General Wiranto and six other senior generals, in February 2003 he was indicted for crimes against humanity by the joint UN-East Timor Special Crimes Unit.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "KASUM Soroti Wakil Kepala BIN saat Munir Dibunuh Masuk Tim Penyelesaian Pelanggaran HAM Berat".]