Sat, 12 Feb 2000

Thorough probe pledged into Marsinah's murder

JAKARTA (JP): Minister of Manpower Bomer Pasaribu pledged to ensure that the East Java Provincial Police conduct a thorough reinvestigation into the 1993 murder of labor activist Marsinah.

He expressed his desire to see the case settled before President Abdurrahman Wahid attends an International Labor Organ ization (ILO) meeting in June.

"The Police investigation into the case must reveal who killed Marsinah and who else was behind the murder," he told The Jakarta Post here on Friday.

He claimed that the President has instructed the National Police to carry out a complete investigation of the case since it is included in ILO's list of unresolved cases and is expected to be an issue at the June ILO meeting.

"Indonesia's image will be at stake if the Police fail to investigate the case thoroughly. Marsinah's killers and all sides behind the murder must be arrested and brought to court," he said.

He added that the provincial manpower ministry office and the chapter of the Federation of All Indonesian Worker Union (FSPSI) in Surabaya, East Java, will help police to provide necessary data and information on the killing.

"The government has asked the National Police to be more transparent in the investigation. Everyone directly or indirectly involved the killing will be revealed to the public and brought to court," he said.

Marsinah, a worker in watch factory PT Catur Putra Surya, was killed just days after leading a labor strike. Her mutilated corpse was discovered in a forested area in Nganjuk, East Java, in May, 1993.

In 1995 the Supreme Court overturned an earlier decision which convicted seven executives of the watch company who were allegedly behind the murder.

"The police should have moral strength and use their authority to reveal who was involved in the murder regardless of their background and position," Bomer asserted.

On Wednesday the East Java military police re-questioned Capt. (ret) Kusaeri, then chief of the Porong military subdistrict, about the murder.

However, no new evidence was apparently revealed.

"The result (of the questioning) contains nothing new. However, we will cross check with the police who will also re- question Kusaeri," Col. Soejono, chief of the provincial Military Police, told journalists here on Friday.

Also on Friday, chief of Brawijaya Military Command Maj. Gen. Sudi Silalahi said in Surabaya that the Indonesian Military (TNI) would not intervene in the reinvestigation process.

"Institutionally TNI is not involved in the case," he said.

The newly-installed East Java Police chief Maj. Gen. Da'i Bachtiar also vowed to uncover the case.

Kusyuniarti, ILO consultant for Indonesia said that success in resolving the case would influence ILO recommendations for policy in Indonesia.

"According to the ILO investigation team, who have been in Indonesia, Marsinah was killed by military men," she said.

Both Indonesian Military chief Adm. Widodo A.S. and National Police chief Lt. Gen. Rusdihardjo have supported efforts to resolve the Marsinah case.

The National Commission on Human Rights has also assigned four of its members -- Sugiri, Albert Hasibuan, Benyamin Mangkudilaga and Anton Sujata -- to investigate the murder. The team had found four new suspects, three of them in the military. (rms/nur/sur)