Palm owner charged with ordering murder of two journalists in Indonesia
Five people, including the alleged owner of an oil palm plantation in Sumatra where two journalists were found dead, have been charged with their murder.
The alleged assailants are accused to being paid $3,000 from the company to kill Maraden Sianipar, 55, and Martua Siregar, 42, apparently in retaliation for their advocacy on behalf of locals engaged in a land dispute with the company.
The murders on Oct. 29 occurred in the same month that environmental activist Golfrid Siregar was found dead, also in North Sumatra, in suspicious circumstances. At the time he was challenging the police’s failure to pursue a forgery complaint in connection with a permit for a power plant in an orangutan habitat.
The recent deaths of journalists and activists defending environmental protection have raised concerns among many observers over the state of activism and press freedom in Indonesia.