Sunday, February 20, 2005

Garuda pilot and Munir murder case

laksamana,net wonders if the military is arranging a cover-up in the Munir Murder Case.

Almost five months after the murder of human rights campaigner Munir, police are yet to come up with a single suspect, increasing concerns of a high-level cover-up.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had personally promised Munir’s widow Suciwati that he would fully support the formation of an independent team to investigate the case.

Yudhoyono broke his promise.

Munir, founder of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) and the Indonesian Human Rights Monitor (Imparsial), died of arsenic poisoning while on a Garuda Indonesia flight from Jakarta to Amsterdam on September 7.

Rights groups are certain he was murdered by his powerful enemies, possibly by those who wanted to silence his most recent investigations into corruption cases involving prominent government figures.

Rights activists grouped in the Committee of Solidarity Action for Munir (Komite Aksi Solidaritas Untuk Munir - KASUM) on Wednesday (2/2/05) urged the government fact-finding team to put pressure on police to investigate whether a Garuda pilot seen with Munir on the final day of his life was working covertly for a state intelligence agency.

The pilot, Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto, allegedly telephoned Munir’s house two or three days before the activist left for the Netherlands and told Suciwati he would be on the same flight as her husband. He has denied calling Munir’s house and insisted he was not involved in his death. But it has been established that Pollycarpus introduced himself to Munir and Suciwati when they arrived at Jakarta’s Sukarno-Hatta International Airport on the night of September 6. Munir died on the flight.

Dutch authorities conducted an autopsy that revealed 465 milligrams of undigested arsenic in Munir's stomach – more than double the normally lethal dose of 200 milligrams.

On November 20, a decapitated and dismembered chicken was sent to Suciwati, along with a note warning: "Be careful!!!!! Do not connect TNI to the death of Munir. Do you want to end up like this?"

Munir’s fellow human rights activists discovered that Pollycarpus had piloted flights – ostensibly for Christian missionaries – in Irian Jaya (now Papua) province over 1985-87 when the military was attacking separatist rebels in the territory. Pollycarpus later flew planes to evacuate Indonesians from East Timor in 1999 after TNI and its militia proxies had unleashed carnage there in response to the territory’s vote to secede from Indonesia. East Timor’s notorious former militia leader Eurico Guterres has admitted to knowing the pilot. KASUM and the rights activists in the fact-finding team suspect Pollycarpus is no ordinary pilot. They have received anonymous tip-offs via mobile phone text messages alleging that he is a member of the National Intelligence Agency (BIN) and has an unlicensed gun from the agency.

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