Widow of Murdered Activist Tells Trial of Death Threats
JAKARTA ~ The widow of a human rights activist allegedly poisoned by state intelligence agents told a court on Tuesday she had received death threats before and after her husband’s murder.
Testifying at the trial of a former senior Indonesian spy charged with plotting the murder of her husband, Munir Said Talib, Suciwati described receiving letter bombs and a package containing chicken parts.
She said the package containing severed chicken heads and feet carried a message reading: “Don’t involve the TNI (Indonesia military) unless you want to end up like this.”
Muchdi Purwopranjono, 59, an ex-deputy chief of the State Intelligence Agency (BIN), is on trial accused of plotting activist Munir’s murder by arsenic poisoning on a flight from Jakarta to Amsterdam in 2004.
He is the first member of the military elite to face charges over the killing which Indonesian rights activists have long blamed on elements of the armed forces.
Suciwati told South Jakarta District Court that she had received letter bombs in 2001 and 2003, when her husband was well known as one of the country’s most outspoken critics of the military’s role in rights abuses.
“According to the bomb squad police officer, the bomb sent in 2001 was categorized as high explosive,” she told the court.
Asked by Judge Suharto why her family was being threatened, she said her husband had believed it was the “consequence of being too active protesting and fighting against human rights violations.”
Prosecutors have said the killing was an act of revenge after Munir had uncovered the kidnappings of 13 activists allegedly by special forces under Purwopranjono’s command in the late 1990s.
The scandal led to the former general’s sacking as special forces chief, according to the indictment.
Suciwati said Munir had warned her that Purwopranjono might be very angry over his dismissal, and that she should be ready for dire consequences.
Purwopranjono has been in custody since he turned himself in to police on June 19 in Jakarta.
He denies the allegations.