The Indonesian police said Friday they would open an inquiry to see if the 38-year-old Mr. Munir, who only used one name, had been deliberately poisoned.
Sidney Jones is the Southeast Asia head of the Brussels-based International Crisis Group and knew Mr. Munir for many years. She says the group he founded changed the political landscape in Indonesia. "He was this absolutely fearless, very funny, very determined, very committed individual who single-handedly put together what was at the time the most important human rights organization in Jakarta, which was Kontras," said Ms. Jones.
Munir once said he had "lost count" of the number of death threats he had received, and Ms. Jones says it is important that his death is fully investigated.
However, she would be surprised if it turns out that he was murdered by members of the government or army who opposed him: Ms. Jones says that although it is not unusual for human rights workers in Indonesia to be threatened and sometimes physically abused, murder of someone so prominent is far less common.If the suspicions that Mr. Munir was deliberately poisoned are confirmed, it would be an unwelcome resurgence of the sort of brutal tactics that many Indonesians hoped had become a thing of the past.