Indonesian activist's killer jailed

A pilot has been sentenced to 14 years in jail for killing Indonesia's top human rights activist in a crime judges said was politically motivated.

    Munir died of arsenic poisoning on a Garuda Indonesia plane

    Judge Cicit Sutiarso did not say whether the court believed that Pollycarpus Priyanto was acting on someone else's orders when he placed a lethal dose of arsenic in food served to Munir Thalib, on a Garuda airlines flight to Amsterdam on 7 September 2004.

    Critics have said that Priyanto, a pilot who was off duty on that flight, was a scapegoat and that the masterminds, possibly members of the State Intelligence Agency, had escaped punishment.

    The judge told a packed court on Tuesday: "The accused's motivation to kill Munir was because he was a vocal critic of the government and the Indonesian military." 

    The trial is seen as a key test of whether the government of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the president, can break with the traditions of the Suharto government, when state sponsored killings were common and the legal system was perceived as
    bound to the ruling elite.

    SOURCE: AFP


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