[Indonesian Report] Probe on disappearance of activists makes no headway

Munir Said Thalib, Indonesian human rights activist poisoned on board during his flight from Indonesia to Netherlands on September 7, 2004 (Photo: kontras.org)

Dozens of people gathered Thursday (Sept 6) to mark the 8th anniversary of the death of Indonesian prominent human rights activist, Munir Said Thalib.

Amnesty International calls on a new investigation on the murder case.

Amnesty International Directors in 11 countries and territories – Australia, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Nepal, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, Sweden, Thailand and the United States of America – have written to Indonesian government representatives to their country to call on the Chief of Police and Attorney General to establish a new, independent investigation into the murder of Munir and bring perpetrators at all levels to justice in accordance with international human rights standards, according to the statement released by AI directors

In 2004, Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said that the Munir case would be a “test of our history” in the context of Indonesia’s democratic reform process.

After 8 years of authorities’  failure to bring all the actors on Munir’s murder case to justice shows that Indonesian authorities are failing in the test, the statement further said.

This raises concern on Indonesia’s willingness to resolve the case and to combat persistent impunity in the country.

Munir was poisoned with arsenic on the flight during his trip from Indonesia to Netherland on September 7, 2004.

The pilot was later convicted of the murder charge and now serving 20 years imprisonment.

But many believe that the mastermind of the murder is still at large.

Munir was a vocal human rights activist, worked on a case of dozens of activists who had been subjected to enforced disappearances during the last months of the Suharto government in 1998. He also played a significant role in uncovering evidence of military responsibility for human rights violations in Aceh and Timor-Leste.

AI reported that in 2012, there is several incidents occurred in Indonesia where human rights defenders continued to be threatened, intimidated and attacked for their work.

According to AI report, on July 20,  2012 dozens of activists from the organization Solidarity for Victims of Human Rights Violations Papua (SPKP HAM Papua) who were raising funds for sick political prisoners were arrested by police but then all were released a few hours later.

On 6 May 2012 Tantowi Anwari, an activist from the Association of Journalists for Diversity (Sejuk) was beaten and kicked by members of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) in Bekasi while he was covering the disruption of the HKBP Filadelfia church service by the hardline group. Despite filing a police report, no progress has been reported on his case.

Meidyana Rayana Intern Reporter news@theasian.asia

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