Indonesia should pursue justice in 1996 murder of journalist Udin

By Sumit Galhotra/CPJ Asia Program Research Associate on September 9, 2015 8:08 AM ET

This past month marked 19 years since Indonesian journalist Fuad Mohammad Syfruddin was murdered. On August 16, 1996, Udin, as he was popularly known, died from injuries he sustained during an attack by unidentified assailants in his home. Udin, a correspondent for the Yogyakarta daily Bernas, had written articles on land disputes and local government corruption.

Udin's case was among those highlighted in the December 2014 International Partnership Mission to Indonesia (IPMI), which included delegates from CPJ and other press freedom and freedom of expression organizations. Local journalists told the delegation they believed that establishing accountability in Udin's case--the first murder of a journalist in Indonesia documented by CPJ since it began keeping records in 1992--would pave the way for justice in subsequent murders of journalists in the country. According to CPJ research, at least seven other journalists have been murdered in direct relation to their work in Indonesia since Udin was killed.

Following its visit, IPMI made a list of recommendations to the Indonesian government, among them a call to reopen Udin's case and dedicate resources to identify and prosecute his killers.

But almost another year has passed with no results--and with little closure for Udin's family, friends, and colleagues. Today, following the 19-year anniversary of Udin's death, IPMI wrote a public letter to Indonesian President Joko Widodo, urging him to commit to a thorough and credible investigation into Udin's death.

To read the letter in English, click here. To read it in Bahasa, click here.


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