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After 20 years of fighting for justice, missing activist Bimo Petrus' mother dies at 76

Kompas.com - August 6, 2018

Andi Hartik, Malang – Genoneva Misiati (76) is now resting in peace. Her long wait to find her beloved son, Petrus Bima Anugrah or Bimo is over but without success.

Bimo Petrus was an activist from the left-wing People's Democratic Party (PRD) from the city of Malang in East Java who was disappeared along with other pro-democracy activists in 1998. To this day, Bimo's whereabouts remain unknown.

Meanwhile the family continues to wait for news on the plight of the student from the Airlangga University in Surabaya who had moved to Jakarta. They are also demanding a resolution to the case.

They last heard from Bimo Petrus when he told them he would return home for Easter. 20 years later however, Bimo has still not arrived. His mother continued to wait until finally her wait ended when she died peacefully in her sleep.

Genoneva Misiati died at the age of 76 on Monday August 6 at 5.30 in the morning. She drew her last breath at the Panti Nirmala Hospital in Malang after undergoing a series of treatments.

"Between April and July she was admitted to Panti Nirmala six times. She complained of stomach pains. But right untill the end the illness was never diagnosed", said Dionysius Utomo Rahardjo, Misiati's husband and father of Bimo Petrus.

Misiati's body has been laid in state at the Gotong Royong Foundation I Malang. She will be buried on Tuesday August 7 at 8am at a cemetery in Malang.

Utomo said that his wife always thought about their missing child and this also affected her heath. "If she was thinking, naturally of course it would be about her children", he said.

There was no last request from Misiati for her lost son. Although at every chance, the residents of Jl. R Tumenggung Suryo II/20, Malang City, prayed and hoped for news about their abducted son. "There was no last request. But he was always in her prayers", he said.


Although he will continue to fight for justice for his child, Utomo has become pessimistic that the case will ever be solved. Moreover there are no signs that the government wants to resolve the case.

"Jokowi [President Joko Widodo says he] wants to be open, that's impossible. Jokowi's administration is overrun by the military, it's impossible", he said.

Suciwati, the wife of the late Munir Said Thalib, a renowned human rights activist who was assassinated in 2004, says that Misiati was a strong fighter because she continued to try and find news about the fate of her child.

"Bu [Mrs] Misiati was quite extraordinary. Together with Pak [Mr] Utomo and the families of the disappeared they came to Jakarta to advocate and tirelessly look for their missing children", she said.

"[She fought] for 20 years, a journey that was not short. I think that to this day she remained the most consistent among the families of the disappeared who have already died", she said.


Between 1997 and 1998 as many as 23 pro-democracy activists were abducted by members of the elite Special Forces Kopassus. After extended periods of detention – in many cases the victims were severely tortured – most were released although 13 remain missing and are presumed dead. Former Kopassus chief Lieutenant General Prabowo Subianto who was at the time President Suharto's son-in-law is alleged to have ordered the abductions. In April 1999, 11 low-ranking Kopassus officers were tried by a military court for the kidnappings and given sentences of between a year and 22 months in prison, although six of them were allowed to remain in the army. Subianto himself was discharged from the military for ordering the abductions but has never been tried. He now chairs the Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) and is expected to be the main contender in the 2019 presidential election.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was 20 Tahun Berlalu, Ibunda Aktivis Bimo Petrus Meninggal dalam Penantian.]

Source: https://regional.kompas.com/read/2018/08/06/16051061/20-tahun-berlalu-ibunda-aktivis-bimo-petrus-meninggal-dalam-penantian.

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