Aliansi Jurnalis Independen

Probe of reporter’s death runs into problems
May 4, 2007, 7:54 am
Filed under: Berita

ID Nugroho, The Jakarta Post, Probolinggo

More than a year has passed and the investigation into the murder of Herlyanto, a freelance reporter from the Delta Post in Probolinggo, East Java, remains open.

Probolinggo Police arrested three suspects who pointed the finger at four other suspects, who are still at large. However, no one has been charged for the murder.

The murder took place on the night of April 29, 2006, in a stand of teakwood trees along the road between Tulopari village, in Tiris district, and Tarokan village, in Banyuanyar district. Herlyanto’s body was found covered in blood with nine stab wounds to his back, stomach and head. Witnesses said he was followed by several people before his murder.

An investigation by the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) alleged that Herlyanto’s murder was likely motivated by his news reports. To support this claim the group points to his missing notebook and cell phone.

AJI’s investigation later became the basis for international organizations, such as the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Reporters Without Borders and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, to denounce the killing.

Angered by what she says is the lack of progress in the investigation, Herlyanto’s wife, Samudiana, has filed a complaint with the East Java Police.

Samudiana, accompanied by AJI’s Ulin Nusron and Hendrayana from the Legal Aid Institute for the Media (LBH Pers), urged the provincial police to speed up the investigation.

“Our family hopes the police can resolve this case. We don’t know who else to turn to,” she said.

Samudiana said Herlyanto was the breadwinner of the family, paying for the education of their two children, Noer Rizka Septian Tina, 17, and Dwi Rizki Wali Hakiki, 10.

Samudiana also pleaded for help from the public in resolving the case.

Hendrayana from LBH Pers, says there has been a rise in the number of cases of violence against journalists in the country.

“The authorities should speed up their efforts in solving murder cases,” he said, adding that the National Police chief and the media should be consistent in reporting violent incidents.

AJI’s Ulin Nusron said changes in government had not resulted in improvements for working journalists, with many still subject to violence in the course of their work.

“The murder cases of Udin, a journalist for Bernas daily in Yogyakarta, and that of a reporter on Nias Island, North Sumatra, have not been solved,” he said, adding that the country’s image could be further tarnished if police were not proactive in solving such cases.

A Probolinggo journalist and friend of Herlyanto, Sahudi, said Herlyanto’s murder was connected with two articles he wrote.

Two weeks before he was killed, Herlyanto reported on the sale of water by a local state-owned water company and the case of a collapsed bridge.

“He also wrote articles on signature forgery, but according to a police source, the murder was connected to a story Herlyanto wrote on the misuse of school operational funds,” Sahudi said.
May 04, 2007


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