SEAPA joined its members in Indonesia and other partners in this 3 May letter (below) submitted to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to push for the reopening of the investigation on the 1996 murder of journalist Fuad Muhammad Syafruddin, also known sa Udin. The group of NGOs also submitted a Letter of Allegation to the UN Special Rapporteurs on the right to freedom of opinion Mr Frank La Rue and expression and on extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions Mr Christof Heyns to help bring the matter to the attention of the Indonesia government before the statute of llimitations on Udin’s murder expires on 16 August 2014.
Request to reopen investigations into the murder of Fuad Muhammad Syafruddin (“Udin”)
Dear President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono,
We write to express our deep concern about the failure of the Yogyakarta police to identify and help prosecute the persons responsible for the murder of Fuad Muhammad Syafruddin, also known as Udin.
Udin was an investigative journalist of ten years for the daily newspaper Bernas. On 13 August 1996, he was attacked at his house by two unknown assailants, whoseverely beat him with a metal rod. He died as a consequence of his injuries on 16 August 1996.
Until this day, those responsible for Udin’s death have not been brought to justice. The police botched the investigations and the trial of one alleged suspect has been widely considered as a sham. The signatory organisations therefore call upon the Government of Indonesia to ensure that proper investigations into Udin’s death are conducted and to ensure that those responsible are prosecuted before the statute of limitations for this crime under Indonesian law expires on 16 August 2014.
We would like to remind the Government of Indonesia in this context that, as an ASEAN Member State, it is obliged to respect the principle contained in Article 2 sub2(i) of the ASEAN Charter, which requires “respect for fundamental freedoms, the promotion and protection of human rights, and the promotion of social justice.” In addition, the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration specifically protects the right to freedom of expression (Article 23) and the right to life (Article 11).
We furthermore remind the Government of Indonesia that as a State Party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, it is legally bound to respect, guarantee and uphold the right to freedom of expression protected by Article 19 of the Covenant, which includes the obligation to ensure that any attacks on journalists are vigorously investigated in a timely fashion, the perpetrators are prosecuted, and the victims, or, in the case of killings, their representatives, receive appropriate forms of redress.
Finally, we would like to remind the Government of Indonesia that allowing a culture of impunity to thrive by acquiescence, i.e. by failing to prosecute those responsible for attacks on journalists like Udin, can amount to a violation of the Government of Indonesia’s obligation to protect the right to life as guaranteed by Article 6 of the ICCPR when such attacks lead to the death of the victims.
We call upon the Government of Indonesia to reopen investigations into the murder of Udin and to dedicate all necessary resources to identify and prosecute his killers before the statute of limitations on his murder runs out in August 2014. No reasonable efforts should be spared to bring to justice those responsible for this reprehensible crime.
- Lembaga Bantuan Hukum (LBH) Pers, Nawawi Bahrudin, Executive Director
- Media Legal Defence Initiative, Nani Jansen, Senior Legal Counsel
- LBH Pers Padang, Rony Saputra, S.H., Executive Director
- Commission of the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS), Haris Azhar, Executive Coordinator
- Southeast Asian Press Alliance, Gayathry Venkiteswaran, Executive Director
- LBH Pers Surabaya, Athoillah, Director
- Institut Studi Arus Informasi (ISAI), Irawan Saptono, Executive Director
- Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Indonesia, Eko Maryadi, President
- AJI Jakarta, Umar Idris, Chairman
- Imparsial, Poengky Indarti, Director
- LBH Pers Yogyakarta, Aloysius Budi Kurniawan, Director
- Pewarta Foto Indonesia (PFI) Padang, Iggoy El Firta, Director
- Demos Indonesia, Inggrid Silitonga, Director
- AJI Yogyakarta, Hendrawan Setiawan, Chairman
- LBH Jakarta, Febi Yonesta, Director
- Ikatan Keluarga Orang Hilang Indonesia (IKOHI), Mr Mugiyanto, Coordinator
- Lembaga Studi dan Advokasi Masyarakat (ELSAM), Indri D. Saptaningrum, Executive Director
- Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation, Alvon Kurnia Palma, Director
- LBH Pers Makassar, Fajriani Langgeng, Director
- Committee to Protect Journalists, Robert Dietz, Asia Program Coordinator
- Reporters Without Borders, Benjamin Ismaïl, Head of Asia-Pacific Desk
- Article 19, Agnes Callamard, Executive Director
- Media Defence – Southeast Asia, HR Dipendra, Director