Tuesday, September 08, 2020

"Andreas Harsono is not well known to the public but he is very well known among a small network of human rights activists, dissident scholars, Indonesian journalists, and foreign correspondents. He is often the fixer behind their stories – unacknowledged, unassuming, unselfish. Now he has shown just what a superb chronicler he is in his own right."

Clinton Fernandes of University of New South Wales University
on Andreas Harsono's book Race, Islam and Power


Andreas Harsono meliput dampak dari tsunami 2014 di Aceh. Ombak raksasa tersebut membunuh lebih 100,000 orang dan mengakhiri perang selama tiga dekade antara Gerakan Acheh Merdeka dan Indonesia lewat perjanjian damai Helsinki pada Agustus 2015. ©Hotli Simanjuntak

Media dan Jurnalisme

Majalah Pantau
Saya pernah bekerja sebagai wartawan buat The Jakarta Post, The Nation (Bangkok) dan The Star (Kuala Lumpur). Pada 2000, selama delapan tahun, saya menyunting majalah Pantau soal media dan jurnalisme dari Jakarta.

Saya ikut mendirikan Aliansi Jurnalis Independen, Institut Studi Arus Informasi, South East Press Alliance (Bangkok) and Yayasan Pantau. Pada 1999-2000, saya belajar jurnalisme bersama Bill Kovach di Universitas Harvard. Saya makin sering meneliti dan menulis persoalan jurnalisme.


Buku dan Laporan

Monash University Publishing 2019
Saya menerbitkan dua antologi –Jurnalisme Sastrawi (2005) bersama Budi Setiyono dan “Agama” Saya Adalah Jurnalisme (2011)—serta beberapa laporan soal hak asasi manusia termasuk Prosecuting Political Aspiration: Indonesia’s Political Prisoners (2010) serta In Religion’s Name: Abuses Against Religious Minorities in Indonesia (2013). Pada 2019, saya menerbitkan buku Race, Islam and Power. Ia sebuah cerita perjalanan yang diramu dengan riset soal hak asasi manusia.

Hak Asasi Manusia

Filep Karma
Sejak 2008, saya bekerja sebagai peneliti buat Human Rights Watch, salah satu organisasi hak asasi manusia paling berpengaruh di dunia, dengan tanggungjawab soal Indonesia. Banyak menulis soal kebebasan beragama, kebebasan pers, prinsip non-diskriminasi.

Ia membuat saya banyak menulis soal diskriminasi terhadap minoritas agama di Indonesia: minoritas dalam Islam termasuk Ahmadiyah dan Syiah; minoritas non-Islam namun agama-agama yang dilindungi di Indonesia termasuk Protestan, Katholik, Buddha, Hindu dan Khong Hu Chu; minoritas agama kecil termasuk aliran kepercayaan maupun agama baru macam Millah Abraham.

Minoritas gender --termasuk perempuan serta LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer)-- juga sering saya bahas. Secara geografis saya juga banyak menulis minoritas etnik macam Aceh, Kalimantan, Jawa, Maluku, Timor serta Papua.

Perjalanan

Chiang Mai 2018
Saya sering menulis cerita perjalanan. Saya pernah jalan dari Sabang sampai Merauke, dari Miangas sampai Rote, lebih dari 70 lokasi di Indonesia. Saya mencatat, merekam dan menulis soal tempat menarik, kisah sedih, orang menarik ... tentu saja juga makanan.

Saya juga sering menulis perjalanan di negeri jauh, dari Eropa sampai Amerika, praktis berbagai kota besar di Asia Tenggara. Paling menarik bila berjalan seorang diri, sering memakai perjalanan buat berpikir, membaca dan berbagi.

Cerita

Blog ini juga banyak memuat cerita remeh, tapi menarik, setidaknya bagi keluarga saya, soal pengalaman hidup saya, dari kegembiraan sampai kesedihan, dari kawan sampai adik, mungkin juga musuh. Saya selalu tinggal di Pulau Jawa --Jember, Lawang, Malang, Salatiga, dan Jakarta-- namun pernah bermukim di Phnom Penh dan Cambridge. Banyak cerita muncul dari semua tempat ini. Saya menganggap diri saya "orang Jakarta." Kedua anak saya lahir di Jakarta.

Hari Imlek 2019
Isteri saya, Sapariah Saturi, kelahiran Pontianak, pindah ke Jakarta buat bekerja. Kami juga punya rumah di Pontianak.

Saya juga sering mengunjungi New York, praktis setiap tahun. Ia kota perdagangan paling besar di dunia. Mungkin kawan saya di luar Indonesia, paling banyak di kota New York. Saya juga banyak kenal sudut New York sehingga banyak cerita juga muncul dari New York.

Sixteen years on, still no justice for Munir’s death

Indonesian painter Yayak Yatmaka made this 2004 painting about extrajudicial killings in Indonesia. He painted human rights lawyer Munir Said Thalib along with the missing activists that Munir had tried to find in 1997-1999. Yayak himself was supposed to meet Munir in Amsterdam in October 2004 but Munir was murdered on his Jakarta-Amsterdam flight on September 7, 2004. ©2004 Yayak Yatmaka


Andreas Harsono

Sixteen years after the murder of Indonesia’s leading human rights activist, the architects of Munir Said Thalib’s killing remain free while his wife and two children are still traumatized over the loss of their husband and father. 

Munir was found dead on Sept. 7, 2004, on a Garuda flight from Jakarta to Amsterdam. An autopsy by the Netherlands Forensic Institute concluded that Munir was killed by arsenic poisoning. He died about two hours before his flight landed at Schiphol airport. 

Suciwati, Munir’s wife, immediately went to Amsterdam to pick up his body, burying him in their hometown in Batu, East Java. 

The murder prompted global news headlines and outrage. Under pressure from Suciwati, an Indonesian human rights community and foreign governments, the Indonesian government acceded to demands to investigate.  

Munir was arguably Indonesia’s most internationally recognized human rights lawyer. He helped set up the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (KontraS) to look into the abduction of dozens of activists at the end of president Soeharto’s authoritarian rule, the period from 1997 to 1999. Before that he worked at the Foundation of Indonesian Legal Aid Institute. Munir later joined a commission to investigate human rights violations in East Timor during a United Nations-sponsored referendum in 1999. 

His reputation made him very unpopular among senior figures in the Indonesian military and intelligence services, which had operated with impunity under Soeharto. Because of the work of Munir and other activists, they were at risk of investigation and prosecution. 

The killing shocked the country but what is often overlooked in these kinds of situations is the impact on family members. Munir’s killing forever changed the lives of Suciwati and her children. 

Months after her husband’s death, Suciwati decided to move from their house in Bekasi. Suciwati told me, “I could not stand it. It had so many memories of Munir.” 

There were other memories too: someone sent a dead chicken to the house, and in another incident, huge firecrackers were thrown at the house, blowing out the windows. 

Their children, Soultan Alif Allende and Diva Suukyi Larasati, were only 6 and 2 years old when their father was murdered. As Alif was old enough to at least partially understand what was happening around him, Suciwati tried to protect him from watching news reports, fearing that the intense media coverage might affect him. “Diva was still a toddler, but Alif asked me about his father, ‘When will Abah come home?’” 

The investigation into the killing showed a sophisticated plot that indicated the involvement of a larger, well-organized group. The court heard that an off-duty Garuda pilot, Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto, had 41 telephone calls with a particular mobile phone number before and after Munir’s assassination. 

The phone’s user was Maj. Gen. (ret) Muchdi Purwopranjono, a deputy director at the State Intelligence Agency (BIN), but the registered owner was Yohanes Hardian Wijanarko, a businessman in a timber firm. 

Muchdi was the former commander of the Indonesian Army’s Special Forces group involved in abducting activists. He was removed from his position just days after Soeharto’s resignation in May 1998 and retired from the Army the next year. 

In his court testimony, Muchdi confirmed that the mobile phone number was his, but he said the phone was frequently used by his driver and aides. He denied having ever met Pollycarpus, saying that he was in Kuala Lumpur that week without his phone. 

In December 2005, a Jakarta court sentenced Pollycarpus, who had moved Munir from an economy to a business class seat, to 14 years in prison for putting the poison in his meal. The court also sentenced Indra Setiawan, Garuda’s then-chief executive officer, and Rohanil Aini, Garuda’s then-chief secretary, to one-year prison terms for producing falsified documents that allowed Pollycarpus on the flight. 

In December 2008, the South Jakarta Court cleared Muchdi of responsibility in Munir’s killing due to a lack of evidence after trial proceedings dogged by allegations of witness intimidation. No senior figures in the security services have been held accountable. 

When Alif was in first grade, despite his mother’s efforts to protect him, he saw a TV news report about the trial. He froze, shouting and screaming. 

When Diva was 2.5 years old, she suddenly asked her mother, “Why was Abah killed?” 

Suciwati said she was shocked. All she could do, she says, was hug her children, talk about their pain and try to heal. 

In 2010, the children wanted to move further away from Jakarta, so they moved to Batu in East Java. Suciwati built a small museum dedicated to Munir in Batu. 

Both children are now young adults. They are now making short films about their family and their father, with whom they had far too little time. 

Suciwati says that “Alif’s trauma is not over yet. But mine is also not over. How do you have closure after such a murder? How do you have a closure when you suspect that many of the perpetrators, those who knew about the plan, are still free, and even have more power?”  *** 


The writer is senior Indonesia researcher at Human Rights Watch.