This Sunday in Jakarta, activists took to the streets to demand justice in the 2004 murder of human rights lawyer, Munir Said Thalib. Munir was well-known for providing legal counsel to victims of human rights abuses under former-President Suharto’s 32-year-rule.
Munir died of arsenic poisoning on a Geruda flight from Jakarta to Amsterdam via Singapore on Sept. 7, 2004. An Indonesian pilot has already been convicted of poisoning Munir and is now serving a 20 year sentence in prison. But the story is threatening to lead higher in the government. As AFP put it in June: “The case is seen as a test of how far the Indonesian government, under its post-Suharto mantra of “Reformasi” or reform, has managed to clean up the security agencies and bring them under democratic, civilian rule.”
Now, a former deputy chief in the State Intelligence Agency has been formerly charged with allegedly premeditating the murder.
The case has been a long time in coming, testing the patience of those seeking a thorough, transparent trial. At one point, vice president Jusuf Kalla urged the country to let justice run its course. But activists don’t seem ready to let up the pressure. Munir’s widow, Suciwati, told AFP in June: “There must be another person who had the ultimate power to order the murder.” It remains to be seen how far up this “other person” goes.