[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sat Apr 2 11:20:48 CST 2005
Executions designed to deter defectors
In a brutal new crackdown on defections and smuggling to China, the North
Korean regime has conducted public executions of at least 3 people and
possibly dozens more, according to human rights advocates here who have
examined a recently obtained videotape.
The grainy footage is believed to show firing squads executing alleged
human traffickers in front of large crowds in Hoeryong, a North Korean
border town that has been a major transit point for tens of thousands of
people escaping their impoverished homeland.
Many brokers work in Hoeryong helping defectors cross the Tumen River into
China and arranging illegal marriages for North Korean women with Chinese
Broadcast last week by the Japanese television network NTV, the footage
marks the 1st time that purported evidence of public executions has been
smuggled out of North Korea.
The video apparently was shot with a hidden camera and brought out by
defectors. Human rights investigators in Seoul said they believed the
footage is genuine.
Public executions would mark a change in approach by North Korean
authorities, who in recent years have tried to avoid giving fresh
ammunition to human rights advocates.
"For the last 2 or 3 years, the North Korean regime has been very
conscious about criticism they've received from the international
community, and any executions they conducted were done quietly indoors,"
said Han Ki-hong, president of the Seoul-based Network for North Korean
Democracy and Human Rights.
"I would guess by holding a public execution like this close to the
border, they wanted to get some publicity to send a message to residents
throughout the region."
Han's group believes there may have been as many as 70 people executed
around the border area in recent months, but there is no documentary
evidence to back up sketchy reports.
In the video aired this week, one scene shows hundreds of people, many on
bicycles, gathered around on a grassy riverbank near Hoeryong's main
market. From a sound truck, officials order the crowd to stand back.
Men in the crowd can be heard complaining in North Korean accents that
somebody is blocking their view. In the distance, there are blurry figures
that seem to be two men being tied to wooden posts.
Then, the sound of three bursts of gunfire.
Children then rush forward, apparently to see the bodies being loaded into
the back of a military truck.
9 prisoners, who received lesser sentences, can be seen being herded away
with their hands tied behind their backs.
Another execution was apparently held the following day in the outskirts
of Hoeryong in front of a train station decorated with a large portrait of
North Korea's founder Kim Il Sung.
Before the gunshots are heard on the videotape, a judge reads the charges
against the defendant, who was accused of helping defectors escape.
"These criminal acts ... are most unpardonable anti-revolutionary acts of
betrayal," the judge says, according to a partial transcript released by
"Today's political situation demands that we be on the alert ... to
prevent imperialist ideological and cultural infiltration."
(source; Los Angeles Times)
The Palestinian Authority's Plans to Reinstate Executions
Since the Palestinian Authority was established, dozens of citizens have
been found guilty of treason by its civil, military, and state security
courts. The offenses have included passing information to foreign
countries, murder and rape. Many of the guilty Palestinian civilians have
been sentenced to death by firing squad.  However, to date only a few
of these death sentences have actually been carried out.
According to the Basic Palestinian Law, which serves as the interim
Palestinian constitution, "the death sentence will not be carried out by
any court except after being approved by the president of the Palestinian
National Authority."  During his rule, previous PA Chairman Yasser
Arafat approved a small number of executions; now, the cases of those
condemned to death await the approval of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu
Approval of Executions in the Context of the PA's Reform Program Recently,
a number of leading Palestinian officials announced the PA's intention to
carry out pending death sentences. Northern Gaza Governor Sakhr Bsiso
announced that Abu Mazen recently approved [the carrying out of] a number
of death sentences.  As the Palestinian Justice Minister Farid
Al-Jallad explained, "The PA will carry out the death penalty with regard
to a number of Palestinians accused of collaboration and passing
information to Israel."  Military Justice System Director Saeb Al-Qidwa
even announced that "the executions will be carried out by the security
apparatuses, under the supervision of the civil and military judicial
It should be noted that the Palestinian Minister of Justice Farid
Al-Jallad and the Mufti of the PA Ikrima Al-Sabri explained that those who
were sentenced to death, especially those sentenced by military courts for
expedited justice and state security courts that were abolished in July
2003, can turn to the Palestinian cabinet to request a retrial. According
to Al-Jallad, the Palestinian Ministry of Justice has already received 2
such requests. 
The Palestinian factions and the families of the crime victims have been
pressuring the PA to carry out the executions. Thus, for example, on
February 5, 2005, a group of some 100 gunmen burst into a Palestinian
Legislative Council session in Gaza, expelled the police personnel who
were present, and took over the building. According to an investigation of
the incident by the Al-Mezan Human Rights Center, the gunmen were
representing a group of families who had lost members in violent incidents
in the PA, and they had burst into the building to pressure the PA to
execute their relatives' murderers. According to the investigation's
findings, the group left the building after a brief meeting between Abu
Mazen and the heads of the families. 
The Union of Palestinian Ulama urged Abu Mazen to quickly approve the
executions "in order to prevent bloodshed, to curb the domestic social
situation, and to act to guarantee security and the stability of the
Abu Mazen's intention to carry out executions is perceived as an attempt
to enforce the rule of law in the PA. Recently, there have been many
incidences of blood vengeance in the PA by families of murder victims,
because the death sentences were not being carried out and some of the
criminals were even walking free instead of being imprisoned. 
Member of Fatah and PLC: Executions Restore "Atmosphere of Security and
Senior Palestinian officials noted that the executions were to be carried
out in the context of the implementation of reforms in the PA, and that
this measure was aimed at ending the anarchy and giving Palestinian
citizens a sense of security. Abbas Zaki, member of the Fatah Central
Committee and of the Palestinian Legislative Council, said that Abu
Mazen's approval of executions was part of "a long list of measures to be
carried out in the context of the reform and growth program, and it was
aimed at bringing an atmosphere of security and tranquility to the
homeland and to the citizens, and to provide the required protection for
the citizens and their property." He stated, "[Dealing with] these issues
cannot be postponed Moreover, carrying them out will show the degree of
internal cohesion and the sincere intention of all to march towards reform
and to attempt to restore respect for the law and the judicial system and
their independence." 
Director of the Military Justice System Saeb Al-Qidwa told journalists in
Gaza that carrying out the death sentences would "help in instituting
security" The security anarchy existing today requires a radical
Political commentator Talal Awkal explained that Abu Mazen's move to carry
out the pending executions proves that he is "serious [in his intention]
to advance towards domestic reform, particularly at the judicial level"
The goal behind this move is to strengthen the judicial system, to deter
those who take the law into their own hands, and to prove that the
[Palestinian] Authority is serious in its measures to restore order and to
put an end to the anarchy." 
Executions Approved After PA Mufti Agrees
Before approving the carrying out of death sentences, Abu Mazen consulted
with PA Mufti Sheikh Ikrima Sabri. According to Abbas Zaki, Abu Mazen
passed the files of 51 condemned men on to Sabri and official religious
authorities, "instructing them to quickly study the cases and rule on them
in the shortest possible time, since it is not possible to defer or delay
[dealing with] issues of this kind." 
According to Director of the Military Justice System Saeb Al-Qidwa, Sabri
has so far approved approximately 15 executions; however, a source close
to the Mufti told Al-Jazeera TV that Sabri had approved only five. 
Sakhr Bsiso said that after receiving the Mufti's approval, Abu Mazen
approved several executions. 
Ikrima Sabri told the Palestinian daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida that he saw Abu
Mazen's passing the cases on to him as a reflection of "a desire on the
part of the Palestinian leadership to ask for the opinion of the Islamic
Shari'a in order to reinforce its legal position, so that innocent people
not be punished and so that justice be done" The Islamic Shar'ia considers
the killing of a man [as equivalent to] the killing of [the entire]
society, as stated in Verse  of Chapter Al-Maida [Chapter 5]: 'Whoever
killed a human being, save as punishment for murder or moral corruption in
the land, shall be regarded as having killed all mankind; and whoever
saved a human life, it shall be as if he saved all mankind;' and as Allah
said [Koran 2:179]: "In [the law of] retaliation there is life for you."
This means that Allah emphasized that carrying out the death penalty for a
criminal who committed premeditated murder is aimed at protecting society
and preventing people from wreaking vengeance and taking the law into
their own hands." 
Human Rights Organizations Oppose Executions
Palestinian human rights organizations oppose carrying out the executions,
even claiming that some of the trials of the condemned men had not been
fair at all. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza stated that
the death penalty was "one of the most abhorrent of punishments, and
action must be taken to abolish it throughout the world, particularly in
Palestine, because it contradicts the right to life... Abolishing this
punishment does not mean indulging those accused of serious crimes,
including collaborators, but rather that we must think of punishments that
deter and at the same time preserve our humanity." 
Yasser Alawna, coordinator of The Palestinian Independent Commission for
Citizens' Rights (PJCCR), which is located in the northern West Bank,
explained: "I personally am against carrying out death sentences,
particularly since we have documentation that in a number of cases someone
was executed who later turned out to be innocent, and the verdict had been
handed down [only] to placate local public opinion... Carrying out the
[death] sentence will mar the image of the [Palestinian] Authority,
particularly since it has stated in its Basic Law that it is bound by
international laws and norms protecting human rights." According to
Alawna, "we must use all [legal] processes to assure a clean and fair
trial for all accused, such as giving them the right to defend themselves,
to appoint attorneys for them, and that [their cases] be first presented
to the prosecution,  [to allow] monitoring of their investigation, and
also [to give them] the right of appeal. [Similarly,] the most important
thing is that they be tried in civil, not military, courts..." 
Director of the Judicial Department of The Palestinian Independent
Commission for Citizens' Rights Hussein Abu Hanoud, explained that like
the rest of the human rights organizations, his organization is calling
for the abolition of the death penalty. He also criticized the state
security courts which, he says, "do not guarantee a fair trial to people
who have been sentenced to death." 
On February 17, the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group issued a
press release in English stating: "On Monday, February 14, 2005, Sakher
Bseso, the governor of Gaza, announced that President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu
Mazen) had transferred 51 civil and military cases of persons that had
been sentenced to death to the Mufti (interpreter of Islamic law) of
Jerusalem, Sheikh Akermah [Ikrima] Sabri. President Abbas gave the
responsibility to Sheikh Akermah [Ikrima] Sabri to decide whether to
execute them or not.
"According to our statistics, 68 Palestinians had been sentenced to death
since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in 1994. Of the
68 cases, execution was implemented on 6 people and 4 others were shot to
death by Palestinian gunfire.
"The PHRMG believes that it is a confusing situation that Abu Mazen still
considers those 51 cases as open cases while they are supposed to be
closed ones. The 68 Palestinians were already sentenced to death at the
time of the former President Yasser Arafat. President Abu Mazen owes us an
explanation to his decision. Is he breaking the Palestinian law that
states death penalty to those cases? Or does he think that Yasser Arafat
made an unfair decision by sentencing them to death?
"Since the establishment of the PA in 1994, 221 Palestinians were killed
as a result of Palestinian gunfire, where others were killed as a result
of stabbing and beating. Moreover, 100 Palestinians were killed in the
street for being suspected collaborators. The PHRMG asks President Abu
Mazen whether he will take a position in all theses cases. The PHRMG
demands from President Abu Mazen to take a serious action against all the
violence that was committed by Palestinians, to ensure security and safety
among the Palestinian people. The Palestinian future will always be
threatened if an action against violence was not taken immediately." 
Palestinian Authority Mufti Ikrima Sabri criticized the human rights
organizations' protests against the intent to carry out executions,
saying: "Silence [about] or forgiving crimes of murder will lead to
flare-ups, lack of restraint, and [acts of] vengeance. Thus, the
opposition by those known as human rights organizations [to carrying out
executions] is inappropriate - particularly in light of the fact that this
encourages the spread of crime." He said that these associations must
"turn to [dealing with] the inhuman acts being carried out by the
occupation against the Palestinians, such as women giving birth at the
roadblocks, the razing of homes, the killing of children, and the
uprooting of trees... Where is the human rights [groups'] stand vis-a-vis
these crimes?" 
(source: Y. Yehoshua is Director of Research at Middle East Media Researcj
LHC suspends death sentence of alleged killers
A division bench of the Lahore High Court on Friday suspended the death
sentence and life imprisonment to the alleged killers of Khanewal deputy
commissioner Ali Raza and his bodyguard and sent the case to the
Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) II in Multan for a re-trial.
The bench also recommended the LHC chief justice take appropriate action
against Sardar Mashkoor Ahmed Sidhu, Anti-Terrorism Court I judge, for
false production of the judicial record regarding statements by
prosecution witnesses. Zahid Kareem, Hafiz Shafiq ur Rehman and Rao Habib
ur Rehman in their appeals had challenged the courts verdict on the
grounds that statements by 24 prosecution witnesses were recorded outside
jail and in the absence of appellants, which was against the requirements
The bench, consisting of justices Asif Saeed Khan Khosa and MA Shahid
Siddiqui, after examining Mutlan jails record, found that the
Anti-Terrorism Court judge did not conduct proceedings on dates mentioned
by the appellants. The bench observed that the judges conduct had brought
a bad name to the judiciary and it must not go unpunished.
The appellants were sentenced to death on 2 counts, 12 years rigorous
imprisonment and fined Rs 535,000 each.
(source: Daily Times)
Munirs Killers to Escape Death Penalty
In a move to secure evidence from the Netherlands on the murder of human
rights campaigner Munir, Indonesia has promised that any suspects in the
case will be spared the death penalty.
"We guarantee not to impose the death penalty, which is allowed under
Indonesias legal procedures," Attorney General Abdul Rahman Saleh was
quoted as saying Monday (28/3/05) by detikcom online news portal.
Dutch authorities had previously said they could not hand over the results
of their investigation into the murder because Dutch law prohibits the
provision of evidence in cases where the death penalty may result.
Indonesian authorities have made a big song and dance over the Dutch
evidence, but seem far less interested in allegations that members of the
State Intelligence Agency (BIN) orchestrated Munirs murder. Its most
unlikely the Dutch evidence will reveal the masterminds behind the murder.
Munir, founder of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of
Violence (Kontras) and the Indonesian Human Rights Monitor (Imparsial),
was killed by arsenic poisoning while on a Garuda Indonesia flight from
Jakarta to Singapore to Amsterdam in September.
So far the only suspect in the case is Garuda pilot Pollycarpus Budihari
Priyanto, who was assigned to the same flight as an aviation security
officer and convinced the activist to switch from economy to business
class. Police have found the pilots letter of assignment was falsified, as
it was issued after Munirs death.
A government-appointed fact-finding team investigating the murder has said
there are "strong indications" that Pollycarpus four other Garuda
employees were involved in a conspiracy to kill Munir and then cover up
Those named by the team are former Gaurda president director Indra
Setiawan, corporate security head Ramelgia Anwar, Airbus 330 chief pilot
secretary Rohainil Aini, and vice president of human resources Daan Ahmad.
All four have denied any involvement. Setiawan and the rest of Garudas
directors were fired last month.
The team believes the airlines staff were acting under orders from
elements within BIN and has advised police to investigate 2 members of the
intelligence agency as possible suspects. The 2 BIN members are yet to be
publicly named due to legal reasons.
Local media reports have suggested Pollycarpus is an undercover BIN
operative, as he has allegedly bragged of his intelligence links, and has
been in conflict zones such as Aceh, Irian Jaya (now Papua) and East
Munir died at least three hours before his plane arrived in the
Netherlands. Dutch authorities subsequently interviewed several passengers
and Garuda employees from Flight GA-974, and also conducted an autopsy, in
which they took tissue samples from the deceaseds body.
The Dutch government last month handed over its report on Munirs death to
the Indonesian Embassy in The Hague, but is yet to hand over the tissue
samples as the embassy lacks appropriate storage facilities.
Saleh said his written guarantee not to use the death penalty had been
forwarded to the Foreign Affairs Ministry, which would present it to the
He acknowledged it was rare for Indonesia to make such an exception, but
said it was vital to obtain the Dutch evidence. "Whether the courts will
agree or the president will give a pardon or not, those are matters to be
dealt with later. Whats important is that we completely investigate the
case first. Only then can we determine a verdict," he added.
The attorney general denied the Dutch government's request to spare the
death penalty was a form of intervention in Indonesia's legal system,
saying the Dutch were merely following their own law.
Dutch Evidence Arrives
National Police headquarters announced Thursday (31/3/05) it had received
the case file of the Dutch authorities investigation into Munir's death.
"The case file was received by the National Police today. The file is
written in Dutch at is now being translated," said police spokesman
He said the file contained records of interviews, witness statements and
an investigation "at the scene of the crime" - the Garuda plane that
arrived at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport on September 7.
Police will study the documents and then take further steps based on any
new information. "There are several documents there we dont fully
understand yet," said Budihardjo.
He said police were prepared to send a forensic team to the Netherlands to
collect the body tissue samples.
Police have also been studying testimony from various witnesses questioned
in Jakarta and plan to summon more witnesses next week, he said. He
declined to name those who would be questioned.
Foreign Affairs Ministry official Retno Marsudi on Wednesday said the
Indonesian Embassy in The Hague had received the Dutch report on March 22,
but held onto it for a week before sending it Jakarta because it needed
time to "legalize" the document.
She said the body tissue samples were still being kept at the Netherlands
Forensic Institute (NFI), which had conducted the autopsy on Munir.
"The Dutch government has in principle agreed to hand over all evidence to
Indonesia. But the Indonesian Embassy could not just accept the body
tissues, as they will require special handling, so they are still being
kept at the NFI," she was quoted as saying by detikcom.
National Police chief General Dai Bachtiar said Friday his officers will
evaluate the Dutch investigation record and use it to cross-check
statements made by witnesses interviewed in Jakarta.
"We will examine the results of the Dutch investigation, which was the
first one, to see whether information that was given to us corresponds
with information that was given in the Netherlands," he said, adding the
tissue samples would also be brought to Indonesia soon.
Bachtiar then seized on what seems to be his favorite subject in the case:
Indonesia's efforts to question 2 Dutch citizens who were on Munirs
He said the Dutch government would facilitate the questioning of the two,
if only for the sake of the investigation. "This will be carried out by
us, although it has been suggested it might not be essential for taking
Bachtiar has been accused of dragging his feet in the investigation,
because he had repeatedly insisted that police could not possibly name any
suspects until they had questioned all witnesses, including the two Dutch
citizens. But police were forced to declare Pollycarpus a suspect last
month after strong pressure from parliament and the media. It remains to
be seen whether police will also arrest the Garuda officials implicated in
BIN Chief Evades Another Meeting
The fact-finding team was 1st scheduled to meet with BIN chief Syamsir
Siregar on March 24 to discuss the intelligence agencys possible
involvement in the Munir case. But the meeting was canceled because
Siregar was unexpectedly summoned by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to
attend a cabinet meeting.
The meeting was rescheduled for April 1 and canceled again, ostensibly
because Siregars timetable did not match that of the fact-finding team.
Siregar had on Monday claimed he wanted to meet with the team "as soon as
possible" in order to "stop the spread of rumors" about the intelligence
agencys alleged involvement in the murder.
"Only an agreement on the day is lacking. When we could, they could not.
When they could, we could not. We are still coordinating with them, just
waiting for the right time," he was quoted as saying by detikcom.
He claimed to be unaware of the precise agenda of the planned meeting, but
said he was well prepared to put a swift stop to the allegations against
BIN. "I've asked for it to be accelerated to stop these sorts of rumors
Siregar said he would use the meeting as an opportunity to tell all sides
to cease talking about BINs alleged role in the murder because there is no
proof the agency was involved.
Asked whether we was striving to clean BINs name, he haughtily replied:
"What do you mean clean it? Is it really dirty? There are only
assumptions, no proof yet - Have we been dirty? Can you prove we are in
Fact-finding team member Rachland Nashidik, who is executive director of
Imparsial, on Thursday said Siregar had canceled three meetings without
providing a clear explanation.
"We regret the BIN chiefs attitude in not coming to the fact-finding team.
Actually, the team only wants to raise two matters in the meeting with the
BIN chief," he said.
First, he said, to request BINs commitment to fully cooperate with the
team and provide any necessary information. And second, to propose a
mechanism for the cooperation between the team and BIN in the
investigation of the Munir case.
"Syamsir Siregar's attitude shows precisely that BIN is an untouchable
agency, even though the fact-finding team is agency that was formed by the
direct authority of the president," Nashidik was quoted as saying by
He said the team has sent Siregar a 2nd invitation for a meeting, which is
scheduled to be held at 2pm Wednesday (April 6) at the office of the
National Commission on Womens Rights, which also doubles as the teams
"This is a gesture of good intention on our part, because we are not
inviting him to the criminal investigation division of National Police
headquarters," he added.
Fellow team member Munarman, who is chairman of the Indonesian Legal Aid
Institute Foundation (YLBHI), said Siregar should re-read the presidential
decree on the formation of the team, because it states that all government
and state agencies must give the team as much access as possible.
Another member of the team, Kontras coordinator Usman Hamid, on Friday
said a BIN official had informed him that Siregar wanted the meeting to be
held next Tuesday at the agencys headquarters in Kalibata, South Jakarta.
"But because this was done without a letter [of invitation] and we already
have an agenda arranged for this coming Tuesday, then perhaps we will meet
with him on Wednesday," he said.
Police chief Bachtiar on Friday claimed his office would investigate all
people suspected by the team of involvement in the Munir case, including
members of BIN. "All of them will be examined by us," he was quoted as
saying by detikcom.
But he claimed to be unaware of any connection between BIN and the murder.
"I have not yet received a report on whether they had a role," he said.
Asked when police would start naming some more suspects in addition to
Pollycarpus, Bachtiar said his office could not simply start arbitrarily
"Everything must be supported by facts; witnesses and evidence are enough.
That is important and that is what we will do in regard to anyone. Our law
does not randomly arrest and accuse people without witnesses and evidence.
We will see their role," he said.
He further said some of the people already questioned over Munirs murder
might not be telling the full story or could be lying, so investigators
should cross-check their information.
Dai Bachtiar's Track Record: Protecting the Generals
Some analysts feel Yudhoyono may need to replace Bachtiar if police are to
have any hope of unmasking Munir's killers.
Bachtiar was National Police spokesman in early 1998 when the Armys elite
Special Forces (Kopassus) kidnapped and tortured numerous pro-democracy
activists in a carefully planned campaign of terror against opponents of
the regime of then president Suharto. Many of the activists are still
missing, apparently having been murdered by the military.
Munir was at the forefront of efforts to expose the militarys role in the
abductions. But he received zero help from Bachtiar, who in April 1998
told the press that all of the missing activists had not been kidnapped
but were merely in hiding. That was a whopping lie aimed at covering up
the misdeeds of Kopassus.
One of the main people behind the kidnappings was former Kopassus chief
Major General Muchdi Purwopranjono, who went on to become deputy head of
BIN and is rumored by the local media to be linked to Pollycarpus.
A recent report by the Dateline current affairs program on Australias SBS
network mentioned that "Muchdi is known to have hated Munir, who exposed
his role in kidnapping and disappearing student activists in 1998."
Given that Bachtiar has brazenly lied in the past to protect Muchdi and
other villainous generals, analysts feel there's no reason that he wont do
so again; so therefore he should be replaced.
Andi Arief, one of the kidnapped activists who was released, has tried
unsuccessfully to sue Bachtiar for lying to the public about the
Arief was abducted by Kopassus officers in Central Java on March 28, 1998,
and taken to a military compound, where he was tortured for 3 weeks. He
was later handed over to police on April 18.
Bachtiar told the press on April 8 that Arief and the other missing
activists had not been kidnapped. On April 25, he again lied to the public
by claiming that Arief had been in police detention since March 28.
In 2000, Bachtiar was police chief of East Java province, when then
president Abdurrahman Wahid ordered police to reopen an investigation into
the torture, rape and murder of labor activist Marsinah. Not surprisingly,
the culprits were never found and Bachtiar was again accused of
involvement in a massive cover-up.
Marsinahs battered body was found on May 8, 1993, after she led a strike
at a watch making factory where she worked in Porong, East Java.
Eyewitnesses saw her forced into a van by men fitting the description of
The factory's management personnel were tried in 1993 and sentenced to
short terms but later released. The chief of the Porong Military
Subdistrict was sentenced to 9 months by a military tribunal. Military
intelligence officers had tortured the accused and forced confessions out
of all of them.
Despite the results of investigations conducted by government and
independent bodies pointing to the involvement of senior military and
police personnel in the brutal murder, Bachtiar in 1998 could only tell
the public that three policemen from the East Java city of Madiun were
suspected of involvement in the case. "They saw Marsinah when she was in
agony, about to die and needing help. But the 3 didnt give her any help.
Thats why they are suspected in the murder of Marsinah," he said.
Others accuse Bachtiar of covering up an even more systematic campaign of
terror and murder when he served in East Java. Noted political analyst
George Aditjondro claims that 10,000 Laskar Jihad fighters sailed to
Maluku province in 2000 to partake in a holy war with Bachtiars tacit
Despite Wahid's order to the military and police to prevent the jihad
forces from leaving Java, Bachtiar did nothing to stop them boarding a
state-owned ship, the KM Rinjani, in Surabaya and setting sail for Ambon,
the capital of Maluku. They were also allowed to transport their weapons,
hidden in 200 containers, on another ship, the Tanto Sakti, which reached
Ambon after the arrival of the fighters.
Bachtiar has also been accused of corruption and collusion in relation to
the Bank Indonesia liquidity support (BLBI) funds, involving many tycoons
and billions of dollars, when he was National Police detective chief later
in 1998. Bambang Widjojanto of YLBHI has said Bachtiars name was
implicated in extortion activities during the investigation into the
Former president Megawati Sukarnoputri in November 2001 appointed Bachtiar
National Police chief, claiming he was "the best man for the job."
Although police still have a long way to go in exposing the masterminds of
Munirs murder, the Attorney General's Office has already begun forming a
team of prosecutors to deal with the high-profile case.
Jakarta High Prosecutor's Office spokesman Hariyono on late Monday said
two prosecutors had so far been appointed to monitor developments in
National Polices investigation of the case.
He said the appointments had been requested by the Attorney Generals
Office in a letter dated March 18. "As far as this is concerned, the
preparations that have been carried out are not yet significant, because
the process of law involving the Jakarta High Prosecutors Office is still
quite some time away. But at this time we have appointed 2 public
prosecutors to have consultations with the National Police investigators.
They are named Fince and Rum," he was quoted as saying by detikcom.
The letter from the Attorney Generals Office said the creation of a
"capable and professional" prosecution team was necessary as more people
are likely to be declared suspects in the near future. The letter was
signed by Attorney General's Office pre-trial director I Putu Kusa, who is
also a member of the fact-finding team.
The prosecutors must handle the case "carefully and completely" by
coordinating with police in order to become aware of all facts and
supporting evidence, and should report all developments to the Attorney
Generals Office, said the letter.
Mandate Extended Until June 23
The 13-member fact-finding team was formed by the president to assuage
concerns that the slow pace of the police investigation was due to a
Led by a police detective and comprising rights activists, lawyers and law
officials, the team was launched by virtue of a presidential decree on
December 23 and given only three months to complete its inquiries.
Kontras coordinator Hamid on Monday said the president had extended the
teams mandate by 3 months until June 23. Under the terms of the decree,
the mandate cannot be extended again.
Hamid said the extension was granted to enable the team to question and
examine current and former BIN officials possibly linked to the murder.
The team would also continue providing assistance to police to help them
overcome political obstacles, he said.
"From a personal or Kontras point of view, the investigation into the
Munir case has been far from satisfactory. But there has indeed been
progress with the presence of one suspect," he was quoted as saying by
He said it was possible the masterminds of Munir's murder might never be
caught, as Indonesia has generally been incapable of unmasking those
responsible for politically motivated killings, with low-ranking soldiers
or police invariably taking the blame.
Such cases, he added, included the murders of labor rights activist
Marsinah, journalist Fuad Muhammad Syafruddin, Papuan independence
campaigner Theys Eluay, Aceh rights activist Jafar Sidik, and numerous
"In fact, in the case of the abducted activists, senior generals from
Kopassus were involved. But nothing could be done despite the available
facts. So don't be too optimistic that this case could be solved. But we
still have to keep doing something," said Hamid.
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