An off-duty pilot was sentenced Tuesday to 14 years in jail for killing Indonesia's top human rights activist in a crime judges said was politically motivated. Judge Cicit Sutiarso did not say whether the court believed that Pollycarpus Priyanto was acting on someone else's orders when he placed a lethal dose of arsenic in food served to Munir Thalib on a Garuda airlines flight to Amsterdam on Sept. 7, 2004.
Critics have said that Priyanto was a scapegoat and that the masterminds, possibly members of the State Intelligence Agency, had escaped punishment. "The accused's motivation to kill Munir was because he was a vocal critic of the government and the Indonesian military," the judge told a packed court.
The trial is seen as a key test of whether the government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono can break with the traditions of the Suharto regime, when state sponsored killings were common and the legal system was perceived as beholden to the ruling elite, reports the AP. I.L.