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Suspects in journalist's murder arrested

(AJI/IFEX) - Seven suspects, including the mastermind, in the murder of Indonesian journalist Agung Gede Narendra Prabangsa, were arrested on 24 May 2009 by police in Bali, Indonesia.

Police identified the alleged mastermind as I Nyoman Susrama. Susrama is the brother of I Nenga Arnawa, a regent of Bangli in Bali province and a member of local parliament. He is also the supervisor of the Regency Education Project.

The other suspects arrested were identified as Komang Gede, Nyoman Rencana, I Komang Gede Wardana (alias Mangde), Dewa Sumbawa, Endy and Jampe.

Prabangsa, who was a journalist with the daily newspaper "Radar Bali", was killed after his series of investigative reports on alleged corruption at the local government's Regency Education Project was published.

Prabangsa's body was recovered from Bali Strait on 16 February. According to the suspects, the journalist was killed inside Susrama's home in Banjar Petak, Bebalag, in Bangli regency, on 11 February at about 11:30 pm local time. Police said the victim had been invited to Susrama's home, where he was beaten to death. His body was then dumped in Padangbai Beach.

Police recovered evidence at the scene of crime, including the victim's bloodstains and the car used to transport the victim's body.

The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) has been working with the local police on the Prabangsa case for the past four months.

AJI called on the police to continue its efforts in solving other murder cases involving journalists. These include those of Ersa Siregar, a journalist of RCTI TV, killed by soldiers in Aceh in 2003; and Fuad Muhammad Safruddin of "Bersita Nasional", slain in Yogyakarta in 1996.

AJI President Nezar Patria noted that these cases have never been brought to trial. "Impunity in the killing of journalists must be eliminated in Indonesia," Patria said.

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