Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Indonesian intelligence agent faces murder charge

Indonesian intelligence agent faces murder charge

A former top Indonesian state intelligence official went on trial Thursday for allegedly ordering the murder of the country's most prominent human rights activist four years ago.
Retired army Gen. Muchdi Purwoprandjono, 59, was arrested in June on charges of involvement in the poisoning of Munir Thalib, who died of an arsenic overdose in September 2004 while flying from Jakarta to Amsterdam aboard the state airline, Garuda.
Purwoprandjono could face a death sentence if found guilty of ordering the murder.
On Thursday, prosecutors said they had uncovered a possible motive in the case.
Prosecutor Cyrus Sinaga told a packed courtroom the defendant had "ordered Munir be killed" because he had exposed Purwoprandjono's involvement in the abduction of 13 activists that led to his firing.
"The defendant hated Munir because he was sacked after just 52 days as commander of the Kopassus (Special Forces)," Sinaga said.
Defense lawyer Lutfi Hakim dismissed the accusation as "absurd," arguing that prosecutors had based their case "on assumptions instead of facts."
Purwoprandjono's trial at the South Jakarta District Court marks a giant leap in the investigation of Thalib's killing, long undermined by high-level corruption.
"I just hope that at this trial Muchdi will dare to reveal who actually ordered him," said Thalib's widow, Suciwati, who has long alleged that her husband was the victim of a state-sponsored conspiracy.
Observers see the proceedings as an important gauge of progress in human rights and judicial reform in Indonesia since the end of the 32-year Suharto dictatorship a decade ago.
Purwoprandjono is the first official at the State Intelligence Agency to be linked to a plot to have Thalib killed and could implicate other authorities.
Thalib gained fame and made many powerful enemies for exposing abuses by the Indonesian army in East Timor and Papua during Suharto's U.S.-backed rule.
In January, the Supreme Court sentenced Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto, a 46-year-old pilot, to 20 years in prison for carrying out the murder. Indra Setiawan, a former airline official, received a one-year sentence for being an accessory.
An independent fact-finding team established by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono revealed records of dozens of telephone calls between Priyanto and a phone registered to Purwoprandjono before the murder.
Purwoprandjono testified at Priyanto's trial that he shared the phone with family and staff.


Updated : 2021-07-28 01:49 GMT+08:00