Thursday, 15 November 2007

Ex Garuda director links spy agency to midair murder of activist

Jakarta Post 15th November

Ex Garuda director links spy agency to midair murder of activist

JAKARTA (AP): A former director of Indonesia's Garudaairline linked the state intelligence agency on Tuesday to the midair poisoning of a human rights activist three years ago.

Indra Setiawan told the Central Jakarta District Court he was asked by the spy agency, known as BIN, to place Pollycarpus Priyanto, an off-duty pilot, on the flight from Jakarta to Singapore as a security agent.

Priyanto was found guilty by a lower court of murdering the activist, Munir Said Thalib, but the Supreme Court overturned the conviction in 2006, citing a lack of evidence. Prosecutors are appealing that decision, saying they now have new evidence.

Setiawan was testifying at the trial of Rohainil Aini, a former deputy vice president of the airline. The two were arrested in April and accused of conspiracy in the murder.

Munir, a vocal critic of Indonesia's military, died in September 2004 while flying from Jakarta to Amsterdam after ingesting a fatal dose of arsenic.

"I had received a letter from BIN, requesting Pollycarpus to be placed on board as aviation security because as a flag carrier, security of Garuda needed to be tightened," Setiawan told the court.