Mon, 07 Feb 2000

Cooperation needed in Marsinah case

JAKARTA (JP): The police, military police and East Java Prosecutor's Office have been warned against covering up the May 8, 1993, murder of labor activist Marsinah.

A member of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), Koesparmono Irsan, said in Surabaya over the weekend the three institutions should be cooperative and transparent with each other now that the case has been reopened.

"It's clear that there was a murder and a murderer. It was a crime, so don't try to link it with politics," Koesparmono said.

Koesparmono, who was the chief of the provincial police between 1990 and 1992, stressed the need for cooperation among the three institutions because of the alleged role of Army personnel in the murder.

He said there were attempts to cover up the murder from the time of the preliminary investigation, evidenced by the fact that Marsinah was buried without a postmortem examination first being performed.

"Although the case is very complicated, there is no reason for us not to resolve it," he was quoted by Antara as saying.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) recently issued a resolution asking for a new investigation into the murder of Marsinah, an employee at wristwatch manufacturer PT Catur Putra Surya in Sidoarjo, about 30 kilometers south of Surabaya. Marsinah was murdered shortly after leading workers in a demonstration.

The Surabaya District Court convicted the company's director, Yudi Susanto, for the murder. He was released after his appeal was upheld by the Supreme Court, which cited human rights abuses during the investigation into the case.

Minister of Manpower Bomer Pasaribu said during a visit to the Komnas HAM office on Friday that the case was a topic of discussion during the recent ILO and International Labor Committee meeting.

He said President Abdurrahman Wahid had ordered him to speed up the reopened investigation into the murder.

Bomer said both Indonesian Military chief Adm. Widodo A.S. and National Police chief Lt. Gen. Rusdihardjo supported efforts to resolve the case.

The rights commission has assigned Sugiri, Albert Hasibuan, Benyamin Mangkudilaga and Anton Sujata to investigate the murder.

Commission chairman Djoko Sugianto said the team, which was formed in October last year, had found four new suspects, three of them in the military. (jun)