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Garuda pilot held as suspect in Munir murder JAKARTA - INDONESIAN police have formally named a pilot working for national airline Garuda Indonesia as a suspect in the fatal poisoning of a leading human rights activist, according to his lawyer. The pilot, Pollycarpus Priyanto, was on the same flight as Munir from Jakarta to Singapore before the activist died after vomiting violently on the second leg of his trip to The Netherlands in September.

Examiners found Munir's body contained excessive levels of arsenic and police suspect he had consumed the poison while en route to Singapore. "My client is a suspect as of today and he has been detained," lawyer Suhardi Sumomoelyono said. Police had been questioning Mr Priyanto since last Monday. Mr Priyanto gave his business-class seat to the activist during the flight. The pilot has said he was flying to Singapore to check on a Garuda 747 that had landing gear problems.
Mr Sumomoelyono said he feared his client had been sacrificed to protect others involved in a conspiracy that led to Munir's death. "I'm afraid he will be the only suspect. It seems to me this case involves more than one person," he said. A government-sanctioned fact-finding team this month accused senior Garuda officials of being involved in a conspiracy to kill Munir, saying there was no way the murder was the work of one person.
The inquiry team's chairman, police brigadier general Marsudi Hanafi, said the carrier was guilty of a cover-up by falsifying a letter sending Mr Priyanto on Munir's flight. He said the letter was written nine days after the activist's death. Garuda has denied the allegations. The airline had earlier said Mr Priyanto, whom rights activists claim has ties to the national intelligence agency, was serving as an airline security officer on the flight. But police said he was not trained for the role.
Munir, 38, was known as a fearless rights campaigner. He provided legal counsel for victims of officially sanctioned violence and repression during president Suharto's 32-year rule that ended in 1998.



Posted in Garuda Indonesia @ 20 March 2005 00:03 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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