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Indonesian Groups Rally Online to Demand Justice for Slain Environmentalist

Jopi Peranginangin, an environmental activist from Indonesia who was killed last May 23, 2015 by a person who claimed to be a soldier.

Jopi Peranginangin, an environmental activist from Indonesia who was killed last May 23, 2015 by a person who claimed to be a soldier. Photo from Facebook page of Solidaritas4Jopi

Friends of Jopi Peranginangin, an Indonesian environmentalist who was stabbed and killed in a bar in south Jakarta, are asking the government to lead a quick and transparent murder investigation. They fear the murder is related to his activism. To monitor the case, his friends and supporters have launched a campaign called “Solidaritas4Jopi” (Solidarity for Jopi).

Based on the narrative released by Jopi’s friends, the suspect in the killing is a person who claims to be a soldier:

On the morning of Saturday 23 May 2015, in South Jakarta, following a night out to see Navicula, a band who supports the work of Sawit Watch, Jopi was stabbed to death with a bayonette knife through his lungs. He was not stabbed because he created any trouble or started any fight. He was murdered when he went to the assistance of a friend who had been approached by a person claiming to be an Indonesia soldier who then killed him.

Photo from Facebook page of Solidaritas4Jopi

Photo from Facebook page of Solidaritas4Jopi

Peranginangin was a student activist in the University of Tadulako's Law faculty. He finished his Bachelor's Degree in 2003.

After college, Peranginangin became an active member and leader of various non-governmental organizations. He was a coordinator in the Division of Education and Advocacy at the Legal Aid Institute in Palu, Central Sulawesi. He also served as coordinator of the Litigation Department at the People's Education Foundation, also in Palu. He was head of campaigns at the Forum for Environment Central Sulawesi and the chief editor of a bulletin published by Tanah Merdeka Foundation. For ten years, he was the director of information and communication at the Alliance of Indigenous Peoples of the Archipelago.

In 2012, he became the country manager for mass mobilization of Greenpeace Indonesia. Before his death, he was also working as a campaign staffer at Sawit Watch, an organization that monitors forest fires and the impact of palm oil plantations.

Peranginangin was also a volunteer who campaigned for Indonesian President Jokowi in the 2014 elections.

Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla has personally ordered the police to investigate Peranginangin's murder.

Sawit Watch, meanwhile, has asked an Indonesian military commander to help ensure that justice will prevail. The group urged the police to investigate everyone who may have been involved in the attack and to guarantee protection to witnesses who can testify about the stabbing. Sawit Watch also called on the National Commission on Human Rights to help monitor the investigation process.

The murder suspect is allegedly a sailor in the Navy. Responding to this allegation, the chief of Indonesia's Naval Information Office urged the public to wait first for the findings of the probe, also adding that the killing could have been an act of self-defense, or that the murder possibly wasn't premeditated.

This statement prompted various groups to form Solidaritas4Jopi. They immediately issued a press release to refute speculation that Peranginangin's killer could have acted in self-defense.

Peranginangin's friends and supporters are using the Twitter hashtag #Solidaritas4Jopi to mourn his death and to call for justice. One of those who expressed solidarity is a man named Rahung, a rising celebrity chef:

Arrest, fire, and prosecute!!! “Unscrupulous members of the Navy admitted stabbing Jopi Peranginangin”

Below are some tweets from Peranginangin's friends:

Only the transparency of the results of the temporary investigation on #Jopi's Killer will restore public trust

A petition calling for justice in the Peranginangin murder case has already accumulated more than 17,000 signatures.

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