REMEMBERING MUNIR: The Inaugural Munir Said Thalib Memorial Lecture on Human Rights in Indonesia
from 09:00 PM to 12:00 AM
History of the Munir case
On 7th September 2004, leading Indonesian human rights lawyer Munir Said Thalib, a 38-year-old father of two, boarded a Garuda Airlines flight to Amsterdam, to study at a university there. But Munir became severely ill enroute, and was pronounced dead on arrival in the Netherlands. An autopsy subsequently performed by the Netherlands Forensic Institute found massive amounts of arsenic in Munir’s system.
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Indonesia’s first directly-elected president, created an independent fact-finding team (Tim Pencari Fakta, or TPF) to investigate Munir’s death. SBY declared that the Munir case was a test of Indonesian history.
In June 2005 the team gave its report to the president. The report recommended that senior officials in the State Intelligence Agency and Garuda Airlines be fully investigated and prosecuted as appropriate, meanwhile the report was never made public.
Polycarpus Priyanto, a former Garuda Indonesia pilot, was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for serving Munir a poisonous drink while the victim was in transit in Singapore's Changi airport, thereby causing Munir’s death. A team found contacts between Polycarpus and Retired Major General Muchdi Purwopranjono, a former deputy at Indonesia's National Intelligence Agency (BIN). In addition an Indonesian court sentenced Indra Setiawan, a former airline official, to one year in prison as an accessory to the murder.
Indonesia's Supreme Court has upheld the ruling of a district court to acquit Retired Major General Muchdi Purwopranjono, accused of ordering the execution of Munir, much to the disappointment of Munir’s widow, Suciwati, who has been active in keeping his case in the public eye.
In this lecture, Professor Tim Lindsey will explain the judicial process of Munir’s case and how far the Indonesian legal system has been reformed since Suharto resigned to address human rights cases in Indonesia. In addition what does the re-election of SBY mean for Indonesia’s legal system and what of SBY’s promise to make the prosecution of Munir’s murderers a test of Indonesian history?
Prof. Tim Lindsey is a graduate of the University of Melbourne Law School and completed his doctoral thesis in Indonesian studies. He teaches and researches Indonesian law, Syariah (Islamic law), comparative law and law reform in developing countries. He researches and teaches in Bahasa Indonesia, is a member of the Board of the Australia-Indonesia Institute and is a practicing member of the Victorian Bar.
Tim Lindsey’s publications include Indonesia: Law & Society; Indonesia After Soeharto: Prospects for Reform; Indonesia: Bankruptcy, Law Reform and the Commercial Court; and Corruption in Asia (with Howard Dick). He is a founding editor of the Australian Journal of Asian Law.
This forum is being organised by Indonesian Solidarity and supported by the Faculty of Law, Caplus (Centre for Asian and Pacific Law) and the Department of Indonesian Studies at the University of Sydney.
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