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552nd Kamisan marks 14 years since assassination of rights activist Munir

Kompas.com - September 6, 2018

Fabian Januarius Kuwado, Jakarta – The 552nd Kamisan (Thursday action) held on Thursday September 6 was quite different from usual.

This was because this Kamisan was commemorating 14 years since the death of renowned human rights activist Munir Said Thalib, who was assassinated on September 7, 2004.

Today's Kamisan was not only marked by speeches by human rights activists and the families of victims of past human rights violations, but it was also embellished with ornaments filled with criticism of the government.

Eight long banners were put up facing towards the State Palace across the road from the action. Printed on the banners were messages in white on a black background.

Interestingly, the messages were quotes from various national figures, ranging from statements by former National Intelligence Agency (BIN) chief AM Hendropriyono, Munir's wife Suciwati, the 6th president of Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, poet Joko Pinurbo to Munir himself.

The following are some of the quotes on the banners:

"The Munir issue has really made me very stressed out. I don't want to be summoned like a defendant. I'm not the guilty person." (AM Hendropriyono, 2016)

"Munir, good evening. Vanished from sight but are still being sought. Dead but still courageous". (Joko Pinurbo, Surat Kopi)

"The Munir case is a test of our history." (Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, 2004)

"Our PR [homework] is past human rights violations. Including the case of Mas [Brother] Munir. This also needs to be resolved." (President Joko Widodo, 2016).

"I could be drowned at sea, I could be poisoned in the air, I could be murdered on a sidewalk. But I will never die and will never end." (The Greenhouse Effect, in the Air)

"I must be calm even though I'm afraid. This is so others will not be afraid." (Munir Said Thalib)

These quotes were intended to depict the course of the Munir case itself which according to human rights activists and the families of human rights victims has yet to be fully resolved.

During a break in the action, Suciwati said that to this day there have been no serious efforts on the part of the government to resolve the Munir case.

"The efforts appear to have only been ceremonial. Just to maintain the impression that the government cares, and then the problem of human rights violation is buried again", said Suciwati.

"For us, there have been enough promises, all of the postures taken by the state and promotions on social media about how much the current government cares about human rights cases in Indonesia. What we need is concrete action showing that the government really is serious about dealing with human rights violations, including Munir", she said.


Kamisan – Roughly translated as "Thursday Actions", every Thursday since January 18, 2007, the Solidarity Network for Victims and Families of Victims (JSKKK) has been organising silent actions in front of the State Palace calling on the government to resolve past human rights cases.

Renowned human rights defender Munir died of arsenic poisoning onboard a Garuda Indonesia flight in September 2004. Although off-duty pilot Pollycarpus Priyanto was convicted of the murder in 2005 the alleged mastermind behind the assassination, former National Intelligence Agency (BIN) deputy Muchdi Purwopranjono, was later acquitted of all charges. Also implicated in the murder but never investigated was former BIN chief Hendropriyono. A close ally of Megawati Sukarnoputri – the chairperson of President Joko Widodo's ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) – according to US diplomatic cables leaked in 2011 Hendropriyono was involved in the planning of Munir's murder.

In the Air (Di Udara) by Green House Effect (Efek Rumah Kaca, ERK) is a song written by ERK members Cholil, Akbar and Adrian in 2007 to honour the life of Munir.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was Aksi Kamisan Bentangkan Spanduk Berisi Pernyataan Hendropriyono, SBY, hingga Jokowi.]

Source: https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2018/09/06/20284431/aksi-kamisan-bentangkan-spanduk-berisi-pernyataan-hendropriyono-sby-hingga.

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