Posts made in September, 2018

Kontras Chairman Munir’s Murder

Posted by on Sep 2, 2018 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Kontras Chairman Munir’s Murder

Just thirty-eight years old when he died, Munir Said Thalib (photo inset) had founded the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) and was executive director for the Indonesian Human Rights Monitor (Imparsial). He died aboard Garuda Airlines Flight 974 from Singapore to Amsterdam on September 7, 2004. Munir was headed to the Netherlands to study law on a one-year scholarship sponsored by the Dutch Inter-Religious Organization for Development Cooperation. He became violently ill, stricken with vomiting and diarrhea. A doctor among the passengers gave him a sedative but Munir died before the flight landed in Europe. An autopsy in the Netherlands found he had been poisoned with a lethal dose of arsenic. Munir was a prominent critic and persistent thorn in the military’s side. He and his Kontras associates were advocates for the victims of military abuses in Aceh, East Timor and Papua. He had called for then-Army Chief General Endriartono Sutarto to be placed on trial after the July 1999 Bantaqiah massacre in Aceh. He was outspoken in charging military involvement in the Christmas Eve 2000 bombing spree. In response to a TNI proposal to establish a new antiterrorism agency after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the U.S., Munir alleged military leaders were trying to resurrect the Soeharto-era Operational Command to Restore Security and Order (Kopkamtib) security apparatus. He questioned why military members were tried before closed military tribunals for civil offenses rather than more objective civilian courts. Munir was involved in revising two draft bills before Parliament – an intelligence law submitted by the National Intelligence Agency (BIN) that would have allowed the agency to detain suspects without involvement by the police or courts and a defense law that would allow the TNI to take military action during an emergency without first notifying the President or Parliament. A bomb planted at Munir’s family home in Malang, East Java failed to explode, while the Kontras office in Jakarta had been attacked on three occasions between 2000 and 2003. In March 2002, two days after Kontras organized a protest at General Wiranto’s residence, the thugs-for-hire Betawi Brotherhood Forum (Forum Betawi Rempug, FBR), led by local jawara (strongman) Fadloli el-Muhir, attacked Kontras offices, hospitalizing seventeen persons. The assailants demanded Kontras halt its investigation into the disappearance of political activists during Soeharto’s final days. Two weeks before Kontras attack, apparently on Governor Sutiyoso’s orders, the FBR had assaulted flood victims picketing in front of City Hall. During the months before the 2004 general elections, the FBR joined former Jakarta Police Chief Noegroho Djajoesman’s Save Indonesia Alliance, a coalition of thuggish groups backing General Wiranto. [1] Munir had been an advocate for International Crisis Group Country Director Sidney Jones, deported in June 2004 on orders from BIN Chief Lieutenant General Abdullah Mahmud Hendropriyono based on her reporting about Jemaah Islamiyah and domestic extremist groups. Earlier, she had dug into the February 1989 Lampung massacre when troops under then Colonel Hendropriyono gunned down dozens of Muslim fundamentalists. In February 2002, on the massacre’s thirteenth anniversary, Munir had called on the government to remove Hendropriyono from BIN. Kontras was...

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