Munir document could lead to new investigation
a.. Margareth S. Aritonang and Ina Parlina
The Jakarta Post
Jakarta | Wed, October 12 2016 | 07:34 am
Suciwati, the widow of slain human rights activist Munir (right), and human
rights activist Maria Sumarsih hold masks of Munir's face during the hearing at
the Central Information Commission (KIP) on Oct. 10. In the ruling, KIP ordered
the government to disclose all related information regarding the investigation
report by a fact-finding team into Munir's murder. (Antara/Akbar Nugroho Gumay)
The possible disclosure of a document detailing the facts surrounding the 2004
murder of human rights defender Munir Said Thalib could lead to a new
investigation into any individuals or officials involved in the killing.
Former members of a fact-finding team into Munir’s murder confirmed the
document mentions the names of state officials allegedly responsible for
planning the murder.
However, confusion over the whereabouts of the confidential report has created
tension between human rights campaigners and the State Secretariat, which is in
charge of the government’s administrative documents.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the State Secretariat’s deputy for public
relations, Masrokhan, insisted his office had no information about the fate of
the report. “Thus, it is impossible for the State Secretariat to disclose a
document that we know nothing about,” he said in a press statement.
But that statement failed to discourage Munir’s supporters.
Activist Usman Hamid still clearly remembered the day when he and his
colleagues from the government-sanctioned fact-finding team met then president
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in June 2005.
Usman described how he and other former team members, including Mashudi Hanafi,
Asmara Nababan and Amiruddin Al Rahab, among others, handed a report detailing
the findings of their investigation into Munir’s killing to Yudhoyono, who was
at that time accompanied by his full team of aides, including, among others,
then coordinating political, legal and security affairs minister Widodo Adi
Sutjipto, then National Police chief Da’i Bachtiar and then state secretary
In a written statement to the Central Information Commission (KIP) Sudi himself
confirmed his knowledge of the report as he, as then chief of the State
Secretariat, was the one who had received it.
“The State Secretariat’s denial of knowledge of the whereabouts of the report
is really baseless,” Usman said on Tuesday to respond to the State
Secretariat’s insistent refusal to disclose the investigation’s findings as
ordered by a recent KIP writ.
“The government can no longer ignore the case. Several former team members,
including Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi, are currently serving in the
government. President [Joko] Jokowi [Widodo] can consult them on the existence
as well as the content of the report.”
A KIP hearing on Monday ruled that the investigation report was public
information and consequently ordered the State Secretariat to immediately
release the document to the public by any means of communication it utilized,
either electronically or non-electronically.
The KIP was sure that all documents, including the report on Munir’s murder,
were still under the roof of the State Secretariat.
The KIP issued its writ following a request jointly filed by Munir’s widow
Suciwati, the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras)
and the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH) in April this year.
They demanded disclosure of the information contained in the report after years
of pursuing a disappointing legal process to find the mastermind behind Munir’s
Kontras coordinator Haris Azhar said Munir’s supporters had demanded a public
exposé of the report for many years, even when Yudhoyono was still in office.
They waited and watched over ongoing legal processes involving the case, which
eventually resulted in the acquittals of certain figures believed to have had
roles in killing Munir.
Munir died in September 2004 of arsenic poisoning during a Garuda Indonesia
flight to the Netherlands. He was known for speaking out against human rights
violations by the military.
The fact-finding team found the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) had a role in
the murder, although it did not definitely conclude that BIN as an institution
committed the crime. The team, however, identified individuals in BIN who
played key roles. Among them were the then BIN chief AM Hendropriyono, who was
a member of Jokowi’s presidential campaign team, and his deputy Muchdi