Garuda Secretary to Be Tried

JAKARTA ~ Judges ruled here this week that a trial should proceed of a former secretary at national carrier Garuda Indonesia accused of being an accessory to the 2004 murder of activist Munir Said Thalib.

Rohainil Aini is accused of issuing a falsified document that allowed an off-duty pilot, Pollycarpus Priyanto, to board a flight taken by Munir as he travelled from Jakarta to Singapore and then Amsterdam.

The Supreme Court last year overturned a conviction of Priyanto for poisoning Munir with arsenic but state prosecutors are requesting a case review to see the original verdict reinstated.

Priyanto is accused of links to the powerful Indonesian intelligence agency, BIN.

“All objections are not legally justifiable and therefore should be rejected. This case will be continued,” read Makasau, head of the panel of judges hearing the case at the Central Jakarta court.

Hearings so far had focused only on administrative and procedural matters, with the trial proper set to proceed on November 13 with evidence from witnesses.

Meanwhile, in a separate trial of former Garuda boss Indra Setiawan, who is also accused of being an accessory to the murder, Munir’s widow Suciwati repeated testimony about Priyanto’s contact with Munir.

Suciwati said Munir had told her about meeting Priyanto during a trip to Switzerland in 2004, when he apparently tried to give Munir a letter to post.

“Munir refused to post the letter. He said the man was strange and he was being too familiar,” she said.

Suciwati also took a call from Priyanto when her husband had forgotten his phone. He asked to speak with Munir, claiming he was a friend and wanted to know when he was going to the Netherlands.

Setiawan has already told the court that BIN asked him to assign Priyanto, a corporate security officer, to Munir’s flight in a letter marked “secret” sent in April or May 2004. The letter went missing from his car in December 2004.

BIN denies any involvement.

Munir, who died aged 38, was a well-known activist who provided legal counsel for victims of officially sanctioned violence during president Suharto’s 32-year rule.

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