Reporters Without Borders condemns today’s decision by a court in Tual, in the eastern province of Maluku, to acquit three men of the murder of Sun TV cameraman Ridwan Salamun, who was killed on 21 August 2010 while covering a clash between the inhabitants of neighbouring villages. The press freedom organization calls for a judicial review of the case and a retrial.
The prosecutors had originally charged the three men – Hasan Tamange, Ibrahim Raharusun and Sahar Renuat – with “committing murder” but subsequently changed the charge to “persecution” and requested sentences of just eight months.
Although the three defendants are widely regarded as responsible for the cameraman’s death, the presiding judges ruled that the prosecution had failed to prove its case and ordered them freed under Indonesia’s Criminal Procedure Law (KUHAP)
No one has so far been arrested in the investigation into the 17 December murder of Alfrets Mirulewan, the editor of Pelangi Weekly, in the same province.
Cameraman killed covering clash between villagers in Maluku Islands
Reporters Without Borders is horrified to learn that Ridwan Salamun, a cameraman working for SUN TV, was hacked to death in Tual, in the eastern province of Maluku, on 21 August by a group of villagers who did not welcome his attempt to cover a clash with residents of a neighbouring village.
“A thorough investigation is urgently needed so that those responsible for this murder can be arrested,” Reporters Without Borders said. “To ensure the investigation is carried out properly, the provincial authorities must dispatch additional policemen because, according to several local sources, policemen at the scene did not try to save Salamun or arrest those who attacked him.”
The news website Kompas.com quoted the head of SUN TV, Indonesia’s leading television network, as saying that Salamun’s assailants struck him on the neck and back with machetes and that he died from his injuries as he was being taken to a hospital.
Only recently hired by SUN TV, Salamun had been trying to cover a clash between rival groups from the villages Banda Eli and Mangun.
Two other Indonesian journalists have died in recent weeks in circumstance that have not yet been clarified. They were Merauke TV investigative journalist Ardiansyah Matra’is (http://en.rsf.org/indonesia-how-was-investigative-reporter-06-08-2010,38...) and Muhammad Syaifullah, the Borneo bureau chief of Kompas (http://en.rsf.org/indonesia-journalist-who-covered-26-07-2010,38029.html).