01 January 2009
Justice or Injustice?
The murder, and just about everyone agrees that it was a murder, of Munir Said Thalib or more simply Munir, has seen a tortuous pursuit of justice that seems to have been thwarted yet again with the acquittal of the most recent defendant in the case, Muchdi Purwopranjono.
I am looking forward to getting a copy of the judgment and reading for myself the legal reasoning of the judges in dismissing the charges and ordering Purwopranjono's immediate release. The statement that "Muchdi Purwopranjono cannot be proved legally and convincingly to have ordered the murder of Munir," as stated by Soeharto J. (no relation to the former dictator) hardly seems to be sufficient.
The investigators, prosecutors, and courts have failed to convict anyone for ordering the killing and have in the the years since the murder in 2004, on a flight from Jakarta to Amsterdam, have managed to convict a couple of people for being part of a conspiracy. Interestingly, those convicted (Indra Setiawan, former Head of Garuda, and pilot Pollycarpus Priyanto) of being part of the conspiracy have fingered Purwoprajono as being the person to have ordered the killing.
Purwopranjono had motive, revenge. Purwopranjono had been appointed to head up the Kopassus unit (Indonesian Special Forces), but held the appointment only briefly. He was removed from the appointment after Munir alleged that Purwopranjono had been instrumental in the kidnapping and subsequent disappearances of activists.
This did not hinder Purwopranjono's ability to get himself appointed to the Deputy Head position of the State Intelligence Agency (BIN). It is alleged that it is from this position that Purwopranjono orchestrated the assassination of Muir.
In essence, this decision means that as of today no-one has been held accountable for the ordering of the murder and orchestrating the conspiracy. Therefore, it is reasonable to hold the belief that there are still significant problems with the pursuit of justice in Indonesia. It seems that some people are more equal before the law than others and in some cases these people are not even accountable to the law.
It is sad all round, but perhaps it is most sad for Munir's widow, Suciwati, and his children. Who have lost a husband and a father to the murderous excesses of the state without seeing any hint of justice.
I remain the eternal optimist and hence remain confident that one day the people responsible will be held accountable for this assassination. If not, then there is always a belief that "what goes around, comes around". Furthermore, I firmly believe that "bad karma" will revisit those who perpetrate evil when they least expect it.