The Jakarta Post, August 23, 2007
Govt weak on Munir case as BIN stays mum
Tony Hotland, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
The defiance of the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) to cooperate and help resolve the
murder of rights campaigner and staunch military critic Munir Said Thalib is proof
state intelligence is above the law and the government is "flippant", activist Asmara
Nababan said Wednesday.
Indonesia has no law around its intelligence and attempts to subject intelligence
bodies to public scrutiny through the public information bill has been met with strong
Facts unraveled in the Munir trials to-date alleged the BIN, or some of its high-ranking
officials, masterminded Munir's murder.
The trials have alleged Munir was by poisoned aboard his Garuda Indonesia flight from
Jakarta to Amsterdam on September 7, 2004.
"When we told the President that (BIN's head) Syamsir Siregar was lying when he
said he would give the fact-finding team access into BIN's documents and officials, he
nodded and nothing else was said," said Asmara, a former member of the team.
Asmara said the President's flippancy on the case was strange.
He said it was strange the government had done nothing extraordinary to clean up
something as dirty as an alleged involvement in a murder.
"The agency works as the President's eyes and ears when he makes policies on
state security," Asmara said.
"What message is he sending by doing nothing when the agency is linked to such a
Linking an intelligence agency to a crime was almost next to impossible, said
intelligence observer and former Army lecturer Brig. Gen. (ret) Ignatius Soeprapto.
"An intelligence agency must be extremely confidential," Ignatius said.
"Any disclosure, or even identification of one of its agents, is a loss. The agency will
deny it when someone ... is thought to be a BIN agent," he said.
Ignatius said this sort of statement would be evidence enough for judges on the Munir
case to base their verdict.
Alleged links to BIN include the dozens of phone conversation between Garuda pilot
and long-held suspect, Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto, and Muchdi PR, a BIN director
prior to the murder.
Later it was discovered Garuda had allowed Pollycarpus to join the flight after a direct
request from BIN.
The request was allegedly made in writing, but the letter was recently reported to have
A man named Raden Mohammad Padma Anwar, or Ucok, was recently said to have
told the police he was a BIN agent who had been ordered to bewitch Munir.
Ucok has also testified he once saw Pollycarpus at BIN headquarters parking lot.
BIN has denied either men are agents and says it did not send a request in writing for
Pollycarpus to be on Munir's flight.
Asmara and Ignatius said a law on intelligence agencies or agents should be enacted
to regulate their work and ensure the agency does not become a governmental
The bill on public information, said Asmara, would be a good start. He said
clarification was required around what information on intelligence activities could be
made available to the public.
"The key is any intelligence information or work that might hurt the basic human rights
should be accessible," Asmara said.
"So if another Munir case happens, we'll have a law to refer to."
All contents copyright © of The Jakarta Post.