Indonesia: Official inaction perpetuates impunity in 1996 murder case

    Indonesia: Official inaction perpetuates impunity in 1996 murder case

    Sept.13, Jakarta: The International Partnership Mission for Indonesia (IPMI) and the Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI), strongly urge for President of the Republic of Indonesia, Istana Merdeka to call for a full and thorough investigation into the murder of journalist Fuad Muhammad Syafruddin (Udin).

    Udin, a journalist at the daily Bernas newspaper in Yogyakarta, was attacked by two men outside of his home on 13 August 1996. He died from his injuries three days later. Initial Police investigations focused on a theory that the murder stemmed from an affair, although this has now been discredited. Independent investigations, including by AJI, uncovered evidence that the murder was in retaliation for his reporting into alleged corruption and election rigging. In December 2014, the IPMI released a series of recommendations on freedom of expression in Indonesia, which included a call for Indonesia's government to reopen investigations into Udin's murder and to allocate the necessary resources to identify and prosecute his killers. Although the Sleman Court ruled that Udin's case is still open, there has been no sign of progress or any indication that the government considers this case to be a priority.

    Attacks against journalists are violations of the right to expression, and impunity for the murder of journalists threatens Indonesia's democracy. Nineteen years on, Udin's unsolved murder places Indonesia's human rights record into question. Official inaction perpetuates impunity, and in Udin's case it has left family, friends and colleagues without justice for nearly two decades. Udin's unresolved murder is not an isolated case, and it reflects a wider culture of impunity in crimes against journalists.

    The IPMI reiterates that Indonesia has an obligation under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to investigate Udin's murder properly, and to protect the right of journalists to practise their profession in safety. We urge you to press upon the Indonesian police to launch a properly resourced investigation into Udin's killers. We further call on the Indonesian government to invoke a provision under the Constitutional Court to investigate the mishandling of the initial investigation.

    The Oslo Times


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