Sunday, June 24, 2007

AGO utilizes new method in Munir case

Saturday, June 09, 2007
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Attorney General Hendarman Supandji said Friday that his office is utilizing a new method of collecting evidence for the case review of the murder of rights activist Munir Said Thalib.

"We are using a conditio sine qua non method, which means that certain conditions must exist before something can be assumed. We knew that Munir was murdered and we have obtained evidence that he was poisoned with arsenic, but we haven't discovered who poisoned him. There must be a reason for it. That is conditio sine qua non," Hendarman told reporters after a mass prayer at the AGO's mosque on Friday.

Hendarman said the approach hinges on the theory of causation, which is generally acknowledged in any criminal case.

He said that during the previous trial, the AGO found six possible causes for Munir's death, but had now discovered more than 10 potential causes. "The prosecutors will formulate them in the new evidence," Hendarman said.

Hendarman said the National Police is still busy collecting evidence that could further clarify the death, and that he hoped the case could be resolved before the year's end.

Meanwhile, Pollycarpus Budihari Priyatno, the off-duty Garuda Indonesia pilot who was acquitted by the Supreme Court of murdering Munir due to a lack of evidence, was questioned by the National Police for seven hours on Friday in relation to former Garuda chairman Indra Setiawan, who was recently named by the police as a new suspect in the case.

"I was questioned on how I got permission to go to Singapore and what I did there," quoted Pollycarpus as saying.

Munir died of arsenic poisoning on Sept. 7, 2004, while aboard a Garuda jetliner bound for the Netherlands after having departed Singapore where he stopped in transit.

Speculation still abounds on the exact location of Munir's poisoning and the identity of the individual who poisoned him.

In addition to announcing new evidence in the case and naming two new suspects -- Indra and Rohainil Aini, secretary to Garuda's chief pilot -- police have also named Raymond "Ongen" Latuihamallo as a new key witness.

The naming of Ongen has led to speculation that he could in fact be Munir's poisoner. It has been alleged that Ongen chatted with Munir at Singapore's Changi Airport prior to the activist boarding his next flight.

Ongen confirmed Wednesday that he saw Munir on his September flight to the Netherlands, but denied being an acquaintance of the rights activist. (02)

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