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Munir investigation stalls in Netherlands JAKARTA - The National Police's commitment to thoroughly investigating the suspicious death of rights campaigner Munir is likely to soon be put to the test, with the police team now in the Netherlands apparently at a loss to know where to start with its probe. The team's primary objective of collecting the original autopsy report appears unlikely to be fulfilled as the Dutch government says it will hand over the document only if the investigating team can produce a formal request from the Indonesian government.
National Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) coordinator Usman Hamid, who is a member of the police team representing Munir's wife Suciwati, told The Jakarta Post that the team was unable to produce such an official request, a standard requirement under Dutch law. "When asked by officials from the Dutch foreign affairs ministry for the request, the representatives of the police team only said that they would contact the Indonesian government back home to ask for the letter," Usman said in an e-mail on Saturday.
National Police chief Gen. Da'i Bachtiar ordered the establishment of the team shortly after the Dutch authorities submitted the autopsy report to the Indonesian foreign ministry. The team, comprising police investigators and forensic and toxicology experts, left Indonesia for the Netherlands on Thursday. They will, among other things, collect the original autopsy report on Munir and hire a local lawyer in the Netherlands.
Munir was found dead aboard a Garuda Indonesia flight a few hours before landing at Schipol airport in Amsterdam. The autopsy performed on his remains showed excessive levels of arsenic. Earlier in a press conference held in the Hague, a member of the team, Adj. Sr. Comr. Anton Charlian, said that his team was currently drawing up a schedule of what it would do in the coming days. "We are still making a schedule ... as our team is still awaiting the results of negotiations," Anton said.
His colleague, forensic expert Amar Singh, acknowledged that the team had in fact not yet studied a copy of the autopsy report that had been given by the Dutch Foreign Affairs Ministry to the Indonesian government. Usman said that despite an endorsement from Dutch non-governmental organizations and political support from the country's opposition, including the Green and Socialist parties, the investigation into Munir's death would be unlikely to progress smoothly.
"After all the meetings, we are still in the dark over what the team will do while it is in the Netherlands. The team will content itself with waiting for news from the Dutch foreign ministry about the possibility of meetings or activities relating to Munir's death," Usman said. As a result, Usman said he was considering withdrawing from the team, saying that it would not be effective in shedding light on Munir's untimely death.



Posted in Crime @ 22 November 2004 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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