• IN OTHER WORDS : Injustice
Munir Said Thalib was one of Indonesia’s most respected human rights lawyers. Over 15 fearless years of work, he exposed military and police atrocities in East Timor and Aceh, defended labour activists and urged all Indonesians to demand accountability from their government. So it was a tragedy when Munir died suddenly on a plane flight to Amsterdam in 2004 - a victim of arsenic poisoning.
Munir’s memory and Indonesian justice suffered another tragic assault this month when the country’s Supreme Court overturned the conviction of his alleged murderer: a pilot with ties to Indonesia’s intelligence services. According to reports, the fact-finding team implicated not only Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto - the airline pilot travelling as a passenger on the fateful flight - but also senior intelligence officials.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has said that the investigation into Munir’s death was a “test case for whether Indonesia has changed.” If he is sincere about defending human rights and building an honest legal system, Yudhoyono should immediately release the suppressed report. He should also order a new independent investigation, with a clear mandate to follow the evidence. The truth about who killed Munir is the only antidote for Indonesia’s poisoned justice system.