BIN Involved in Killing Munir: Team

After having strong suspicions of the role of the National Intelligence Agency (BIN) in the poisoning of rights activist Munir, a government-sanctioned fact finding team concluded earlier this week that the agency was involved, according to its report to the President.

"BIN is believed to have been involved in a conspiracy to murder Munir," the team's deputy chairman Asmara Nababan stated on Wednesday on the sidelines of a closed-door meeting to prepare the report.

The report, however, did not definitively state that BIN committed an institutional crime, nor did it state how deeply BIN individuals were involved. In addition they did not find a clear motive behind the murder, mostly because of the agency's reluctance to give the team complete access to certain relevant documents and its arms warehouse.

"We've kept the names of the suspects in our pocket, but we can't determine how far they contributed to the murder," Asmara said.

In its report set for submission to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Thursday, there is the suggestion for the President to order the police to launch a full investigation of some BIN officials, who were in charge when Munir died last September.

The team, whose mandate expires on Thursday, was formed by the President to help the police investigate the case.

A source said the role of each BIN official in the murder was described in the nearly 100-page report, including who played which roles, such as the mastermind and the final executioner.

Another team member, Munarman, hinted that the team would recommend police investigate former BIN chief A.M. Hendropriyono, who previously refused to respond to the team's three summonses.

"I can assure (you) that one of them is a person who strongly reacted to our findings and recently concluded a 'political road show' to approach the legislators," said Munarman, who also heads the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI).

Hendropriyono met with a group of House legislators -- who are currently discussing the Munir case as well -- for a second time on Tuesday. The fact finding team declined an invitation to the meeting. The meeting was intended to give the team members a chance to seek Hendropriyono's clarification, which had eluded them.

Hendropriyono has filed a report with the police against two of the team members for defamation.

In its report, the team also criticizes the police for its poor performance in handling the case, prompting the team to ask the President to establish a supervisory team to ensure the police seriously deal with the case.

"We have learned that the police failed to raise key questions during the questioning of witnesses, including Muchdi," Asmara said, referring to former deputy BIN chief Muchdi PR.

*Published by The Jakarta Post, June, 23, 2005