Ulin Yusron & Ulma Haryanto
A small girl ran around on Thursday as dozens of her adult counterparts staged a protest to commemorate those kidnapped and killed in a string of unresolved human rights abuse cases.
The 10-year-old girl ran to a nearby drinks vendor to quench her thirst as an afternoon sun dimmed its once unforgiving heat. Her name was Diva Suukyi and she bore an uncanny resemblance to the man on the poster mounted by the protesters — slain human rights and anticorruption activist Munir Said Thalib, who died eight years ago today.
Diva was aged just 2 when her father was killed on board a Garuda Indonesia flight from Singapore to Amsterdam after his drink was laced with poison.
Munir’s wife, Suciwati, recounted her daughter hearing the news. “Why was Daddy killed, Mommy?” Suciwati quoted her daughter as saying.
Suciwati was lost for words, and cried uncontrollably. As if Munir’s courage was alive in Diva, the toddler embraced her mother, comforting her with her tiny hands. “Mommy don’t cry. Don’t be sad,” the little girl said to her mother.
With his case still in limbo, Munir’s supporters and closest friends are relentless in reminding the government and president of their own promise to have the case investigated thoroughly.
Supporters of the Committee of Action and Solidarity for Munir (Kasum) and the Commission on Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) will hold a protest in front of the presidential palace and the Attorney General’s Office today.
“We want to remind [the government] of its promise, that it would review Muchdi’s court’s ruling when it finds new evidence,” Kasum coordinator Choirul Anam said in reference to Muchdi Purwopranjono, a former National Intelligence Agency (BIN) deputy who was accused and acquitted of ordering Munir’s killing.
“There are at least two new pieces of evidence that we’re aware of that can be used to review the Supreme Court’s ruling,” Choirul said.
The activist group has doggedly used government processes to gain access to documents that could have a bearing on the case.
The evidence includes an unproven claim by Muchdi that he was assigned by the BIN to Malaysia at the time of the murder.
“The latest ruling from the KIP [Public Information Commission] mentioned that there was no record that Muchdi had traveled to Malaysia between Sept. 6 and Sept. 12, 2004,” Choirul said.
Muchdi was acquitted by the court because he denied having telephone contact with Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto, a Garuda pilot convicted of Munir’s murder, just before Munir was killed.
“There is also a CDR [call data record] that there was communications between Pollycarpus and Muchdi, and this was admitted by both police and AGO. They said that they had such a record,” Choirul said.
Activists say they will not relent in their campaign. Kontras, which Munir set up in 1998, will also use interest in the killing to conduct a public awareness campaign on other human rights violations that took place in September.
“We call it Black September, because aside from Munir’s death there are still other unresolved cases of human rights violations that happened in the same month,” Kontras official Yati Andriyani told the Jakarta Globe.
She mentioned the post-referendum upheaval in East Timor in September 1999 that left more than 180,000 people dead. Other incidents were the 1984 killing of Muslim demonstrators in Tanjung Priok, North Jakarta, and the 1965 anti-communist purge.
Munir was 38 when he died.