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Irregularities surrounding police investigation in to death of Indonesian human rights activist Golfrid Siregar

Over one year after his death, WALHI-Friends of the Earth Indonesia and the #JusticeForGolfrid Coalition still demand justice

Golfrid Siregar, member of the legal advocacy team of WALHI North Sumatra was found unconscious [1] on a roadside on 3 October 2019, and died three days later in hospital. Despite being found fatally injured under very suspicious circumstances, the police said that his death was the result of a traffic accident.

“Last year, the police held a press conference regarding their investigation and concluded that the cause of his death was due to a single-vehicle accident because Golfrid had been drinking,” said Agus Dwi Hastutik, member of WALHI-Friends of the Earth Indonesia [2] and the #JusticeForGolfrid Coalition.

“However, there are still many irregularities surrounding the police investigation. For example, the police really emphasised the alcohol consumption, but they never really disclosed the details of the injuries on his body to the public,” added Dwi Hastutik.

As reported by Real World Radio [3] last year, Golfrid spent his life fighting to defend local communities from harmful projects, like the Batang Toru Dam, and from corruption. A few months before his death, Siregar had filed a complaint with the North Sumatra police regarding a forged signature on an environmental assessment related to the dam.

“There is a suspicion of conflict of interest, because Golfrid had reported three officers from the North Sumatran police regarding the sudden issuance of a termination letter of investigation which essentially ended the regional police investigation of forgery in the Batang Toru Hydrodam environmental impact assessment,” highlighted the WALHI member.

“We believe that there is foul play and that the cause of death was not because he was in a single vehicle traffic accident but because he was beaten, abused and killed. He was probably beaten somewhere else and then his body and motorbike were dumped on the street. Until today there is not a single thing that can confirm that the accident happened there where he was found unconscious,” she added.

Call for solidarity

As part of the actions to commemorate the first year of Golfrid’s death, the #JusticeForGolfrid Coalition issued a call for solidarity [4] and invited people to join them in a social media [5] action and a series of events to commemorate the death of his colleague. Their aim was to highlight the obstacles and challenges the organisations are facing in seeking justice, and to remind the Indonesian government that they will stay vigilant until justice is served.

“The Coalition of Justice for Golfrid will continue to fight and stay vigilant until his justice is done. And right now we are working with the National Commission on Human Rights for our protection and will continue working with them to put pressure on the authorities and ask them, especially the Indonesian Police Headquarters, to launch another investigation and to look into the conflict of interest within the North Sumatran police who handled the case,” concluded Dwi Hastutik.