Indonesia: Former spy chief arrested over murder of rights campaigner
Jakarta, 20 June (AKI/Jakarta Post) – Indonesia’s former intelligence chief, deputy chief Major General Muchdi Purwopranjono has been arrested after being named in a suspect in the murder of a prominent human rights campaigner.
Muchdi, the former deputy-chief of the State Intelligence Agency (BIN), was detained by national police late Thursday, a day after being named a suspect in the murder of Munir Said Thalib.
Police spokesman Inspector General Abubakar Nataprawira said Muchdi could be charged in violation of Article 340 of the criminal code on premeditated murder, which carries a maximum penalty of death.
Muchdi arrived at police headquarters escorted by his team of lawyers and detectives led by National Police chief of detectives Comr. Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri.
“Muchdi is now being questioned by the investigators,” Abubakar said.
He said the police had sent a letter to Muchdi on Wednesday declaring him a new suspect in the Munir case. The letter also said Muchdi was expected to turn himself in to police by Friday at the latest.
Muchdi is alleged to have played a part in the murder of Munir, who died from arsenic poisoning aboard a Garuda Airlines flight from Singapore to Amsterdam on 7 September 2004.
Muchdi’s name was mentioned in a written statement issued by BIN agent Budi Santoso presented in court during the trial of Garuda pilot Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto.
Pollycarpus was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment for the premeditated murder of Munir.
In his written testimony, Budi said based on Muchdi’s orders, he gave Pollycarpus 10 million rupiahs or 1,075 dollars on 14 June 2004, and another amount was later paid when Pollycarpus was under investigation in connection with Munir’s murder.
Pollycarpus repeatedly claimed he did not know Muchdi.
Munir was an outspoken critic of Indonesia’s military and its methods of quashing dissent and separatism in provinces such as Aceh and Papua.
Indra Setiawan, the former CEO of Garuda Airlines, was also found guilty of being an accessory to Munir’s murder and was sentenced to one year in jail.
He was released in April after having served his prison term.