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Sixth Year of Munir’s Death

Sydney, 7th September 2010

Today marks the 6th anniversary of the death of leading Indonesian human rights advocate, Munir Said Thalib who died on the Garuda flight to Amsterdam to pursue his study. 

Polycarpus Priyanto, a former Garuda Indonesia pilot, was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for serving Munir a poisonous drink while the victim was in transit in Singapore. A team found contacts between Mr Priyanto and Retired Major General Muchdi Purwopranjono, a former deputy at Indonesia’s National Intelligence Agency (BIN).

But Indonesia’s Supreme Court has upheld the ruling of a district court to acquit Retired Major General Muchdi Purwopranjono, accused of ordering the execution of Munir. 

Rusdi Marpaung from Imparsial (Human Rights Monitor) where Munir was a director, is currently doing postgraduate study on Human Rights at UNSW. When President Yudhoyono first heard about this case, he called it a test of our history, so it’s a matter of our national credibility, of the rule of law even over generals in Indonesia.

Marpaung argues that Munir’s case is a symbol of the legal impunity of the military, the inability of the judicial system to address human rights abuses under democratically- elected President Yudhoyono, while continuing human right abuses in West Papua/Papua province indicate the Yudhoyono’s administration lack of political will to reform the government in addressing justice issues in Indonesia.

Since the political reform in 1998, the only state institution unreformed under the democratic system is BIN.