8 Jun 2005

Former Indonesia intelligence chief refuses to testify before panel probing activist's death

8:07 pm on 8 June 2005

The former head of Indonesia's intelligence agency has refused to testify before a panel investigating the poisoning death of the country's leading human rights activist.

Abdullah Hendropriyono's refusal to answer a summons appears to undermine the probe and may strengthen suspicions the agency played a role in the murder of Munir Said Thalib last September aboard a Garuda airlines passenger jet.

Munir was a critic of the Indonesian military's alleged human rights abuses and criminal activities in Papua province and other parts of Indonesia.

Hendropriyono's lawyer said his client would not appear because he considered the way he was summoned to be inelegant.

He did not elaborate, but Hendropriyono has called the state-sponsored panel biased.