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Munir's convicted murderer joins Tommy Suharto's new political party

Detik News - March 7, 2018

Tsarina Maharani, Jakarta – Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto, convicted of the murder of renowned human rights activist Munir Said Thalib, has joined Tommy Suharto's new Working Party.

Working Party Secretary General Andi Picunang has confirmed that Pollycarpus is a member of the party established by the youngest son of former president Suharto. He said that the party does not discriminate against members based on their past.

"We don't look at a person's background. What's important is that if they want to become a member, please go ahead", said Picunang when contacted on Tuesday March 6.

Picunang said that perhaps Pollycarpus has the same vision and mission as the Working Party adding that he has the same political rights as other Indonesian citizens.

"Everyone has the political right to articulate their whishes. Perhaps he saw that the Working Party is the right one to articulated his political interests. We don't have any restrictions, what's important is that they fulfill the requirements, right. He has the same voting rights [as everybody else], Pollycarpus as a person has one vote yes, the same as someone who is president", he explained.

Pollycarpus is a former Garuda Indonesia pilot sentenced to 14 years jail after being found guilty of murdering Munir on September 7, 2004. He was released on parole on November 28, 2014 after serving eight years of his sentence.

There has been little news about Pollycarpus since he was released from the Sukamiskin penitentiary, until now, when it was reported that he joined the Working Party.

Picunang explained that initially he knew nothing about Pollycarpus' application to become a member. He then went on to explain that Pollycarpus is just an ordinary member and does not hold any leading positions in the party.

"I also just found out from journalist friends that yes one of our members is called Pollycarpus. But for us, yes well it's not a problem, he's just an ordinary member", he said.

"But as far as holding any leading positions we will have to think about that first. Anyone can become a member if they want to", added Picunang.

Notes

1. Tommy, like Pollycarpus, is also a convicted murderer. In 2002, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison – although he served only four years – for ordering the murder of Supreme Court judge Syafiuddin Kartasasmita, who had convicted Tommy on corruption charges.

2. On September 7, 2004 renowned human rights defender Munir Said Thalib died of arsenic poisoning onboard a Garuda Indonesia flight. Although Pollycarpus was convicted of the murder the alleged mastermind behind the assassination, former National Intelligence Agency (BIN) deputy Muchdi Purwopranjono, was acquitted of all charges. Also implicated in the murder but never investigated was former BIN chief Hendropriyono. A close ally of Megawati Soekarnoputri – the chairperson of President Joko Widodo's Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) – according to US diplomatic cables leaked in 2011 Hendropriyono was involved in the planning of Munir's murder.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was Pollycarpus Bergabung ke Partai Tommy Soeharto.]

Source: https://news.detik.com/berita/d-3902374/pollycarpus-bergabung-ke-partai-tommy-soeharto.

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