Advocacy letter

Indonesia: Murder of journalist must have full and thorough investigation

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ARTICLE 19

17 Sep 2015

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On 9 September, ARTICLE 19, with eight other civil society organisations, signed a letter urging the President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, to instigate a full and thorough investigation into the murder of journalist Fuad Muhammad Syafruddin (Udin).

Udin was attacked by two men outside his home in August 1996 and died from his injuries three days later. Independent investigations, including by AJI, uncovered evidence that the murder was in retaliation for his reporting into alleged corruption and election rigging. Although the Sleman Court ruled that Udin’s case is still open, there has been no sign of progress or any indication that the government considers this case to be a priority.

Attacks against journalists are violations of the right to expression, and impunity for the murder of journalists threatens Indonesia’s democracy. Nineteen years on, Udin’s unsolved murder places Indonesia’s human rights record into question. Official inaction perpetuates impunity, and in Udin’s case has left family, friends and colleagues without justice for nearly two decades. Udin’s unresolved murder is not an isolated case, and reflects a wider culture of impunity in crimes against journalists.

Indonesia has an obligation under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to investigate Udin’s murder properly, and to protect the right of journalists to practise their profession in safety. The coalition urges a properly resourced investigation into Udin’s killers, and further calls on the Indonesian government to invoke a provision under the Constitutional Court to investigate the mishandling of the initial investigation.

 

THE LETTER 

9 September 2015 

His Excellency Joko Widodo

President of the Republic of Indonesia

Istana Merdeka

Jakarta Pusat 10110, Indonesia 

CC: General Badrodin Haiti, Kepala Polisi RI

 

Dear President Widodo,

We, the International Partnership Mission for Indonesia (IPMI) and the Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI), strongly urge for you to call for a full and thorough investigation into the murder of journalist Fuad Muhammad Syafruddin (Udin).

Udin, a journalist at the daily Bernas newspaper in Yogyakarta, was attacked by two men outside of his home on 13 August 1996. He died from his injuries three days later. Initial Police investigations focused on a theory that the murder stemmed from an affair, although this has now been discredited. Independent investigations, including by AJI, uncovered evidence that the murder was in retaliation for his reporting into alleged corruption and election rigging. In December 2014, the IPMI released a series of recommendations on freedom of expression in Indonesia, which included a call for Indonesia’s government to reopen investigations into Udin’s murder and to allocate the necessary resources to identify and prosecute his killers. Although the Sleman Court ruled that Udin’s case is still open, there has been no sign of progress or any indication that the government considers this case to be a priority.

Attacks against journalists are violations of the right to expression, and impunity for the murder of journalists threatens Indonesia’s democracy. Nineteen years on, Udin’s unsolved murder places Indonesia’s human rights record into question. Official inaction perpetuates impunity, and in Udin’s case it has left family, friends and colleagues without justice for nearly two decades. Udin’s unresolved murder is not an isolated case, and it reflects a wider culture of impunity in crimes against journalists.

The IPMI reiterates that Indonesia has an obligation under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to investigate Udin’s murder properly, and to protect the right of journalists to practise their profession in safety. We urge you to press upon the Indonesian police to launch a properly resourced investigation into Udin’s killers. We further call on the Indonesian government to invoke a provision under the Constitutional Court to investigate the mishandling of the initial investigation.

A full list of the IPMI recommendations on protecting freedom of expression in Indonesia can be found online at:

 ARTICLE 19

Committee to Protect Journalists

Center for Law and Democracy

International Federation of Journalists

International Media Support

Southeast Asian Press Alliance

Signed:

ARTICLE 19

Aliansi Jurnalis Independen

Committee to Protect Journalists

Centre for Law and Democracy

International Federation of Journalists

International Media Support

LBH Pers Indonesia Network

Southeast Asian Press Alliance

Tifa Foundation