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Last Updated: Friday, 29 July 2005, 10:39 GMT 11:39 UK
Pilot charged over Munir's murder
Munir (picture courtesy Right Livelihood Award)
Munir died from arsenic poisoning on a flight to Amsterdam
A pilot with Indonesian national airline Garuda has been charged with taking part in the murder of prominent human rights activist, Munir.

Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto, who was arrested in February, is accused of helping to plan and carry out the killing last September.

Munir died during a flight to Holland, after his food was apparently poisoned.

An independent inquiry has found indications the Indonesian intelligence agency may have been involved.

A Dutch autopsy found a lethal dose of arsenic in his bloodstream.

Mr Pollycarpus claims he was off-duty at the time of the murder and denies any involvement in Munir's death.

But a prosecutor in the case, Gianto, said: "We have a very strong case against him."

He said 35 witnesses would be called, including Munir's wife.

A lawyer for the defendant, Assegaff, said there was no proof that Mr Pollycarpus was involved.

"My client is charged with premeditated murder. But so far there's no evidence that he is either the executor who put the poison or an accessory to the murder," he told the French news agency AFP.

Intelligence 'involved'

A independent team investigating the murder last month said it believed the intelligence agency was involved and said it would ask Indonesia's police to investigate.

Indonesian police have named two other suspects - both flight attendants for Garuda Airlines.

The independent inquiry said police should also open an investigation into the former chief of the intelligence agency, Abdullah Hendropriyono, and several of his deputies, including Muchdi Purwopranjono, the former chief of the army special forces unit.

Mr Hendropriyono has refused to testify in front of the investigating panel.

Munir took up the cause of numerous activists who disappeared in suspicious circumstances, and also spoke out against the abuses committed by the Indonesian military across the country during the rule of former President Suharto.

He once said he had lost count of the number of death threats he had received.

The activist is said to have sent an SMS text message from Singapore airport, where his plane made a stopover, to his wife telling her he was feeling ill. A few hours later he was dead.

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14 Jun 05 |  Asia-Pacific
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05 Apr 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Indonesia widens Munir enquiry
23 Mar 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Jakarta activist feared poisoned
12 Nov 04 |  Asia-Pacific


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