Ex-Garuda boss faces Indonesian activist murder charge

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JAKARTA, Sep 28 (Reuters) Indonesian prosecutors have filed murder charges against a former chief of national carrier Garuda in connection with the death by poisoning of a leading rights activist over two years ago, the attorney general said today.

Prosecutors submitted files on Indra Setiawan and another airline official to a Jakarta court, charging them with aiding the main suspect in the murder of activist Munir Thalib.

Munir, an outspoken critic of Indonesia's military, died of arsenic poisoning while flying on Garuda in 2004.

''We consider the dossiers complete and we are sure the evidence is adequate,'' Attorney General Hendarman Supanji told reporters.

Setiawan and the other official, Rohainil Aini, face a maximum sentence of death if found guilty.

Prosecutors have also sought to overturn a Supreme Court decision last year to clear the main suspect, Pollycarpus Priyanto, an off-duty Garuda pilot who was on the same flight with Munir before the activist's death.

Priyanto was sentenced to 14 years in 2005 for the murder but the Supreme Court overturned the ruling, citing a lack of evidence and witnesses.

The case is seen as a key test of Indonesia's legal system.

State prosecutors said fresh evidence shows that Priyanto poisoned the activist while in transit at Singapore's Changi airport.

Washington and top UN human rights officials have urged Jakarta not to let the case slide.


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