Jakarta – When thousands of people gathered in Dili on Christmas eve last year to welcome home East Timor Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo from Oslo, where he had been awarded the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize, posters of Xanana Gusmao fluttered from all sections of the crowd.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
April 11, 1997
Geneva – 378 people were reported missed from November 1995 to the same month last year in East Timor, according to a report by the United Nations (UN) chief, Kofi Annan.
April 10, 1997
Parts of Central Java appear to be turning into a battleground between GOLKAR and the PPP. These clashes, now being fought out in several towns in the north of the province which are all regarded as PPP strongholds, are a portent of something far more damaging than the 'war of colours' that erupted between PPP supporters and local officials/GOLKAR in Solo and spread elsewhere.]
On April 7 members of the Struggle Alliance for Democracy and Human Rights (APDHAM) entered the courtroom where Dita Sari and Coen Pontoh were being tried. It was the day on which they would read out their defence speeches. At 10.00am Dita and Coen arrived at the court where Dita handed out flowers to the judge, prosecutor and those in the gallery.
According to reports today from AFP (in Jakarta) and Reuter (in Dili), the resistance has killed six and wounded five others in two ambushes in East Timor. The exiled CNRM confirmed the attacks and said the death toll was probably higher, but sources in the Indonesian-occupied territory doubted whether the resistance was involved.
April 9, 1997
Susan Sim, Semarang – Troops were called out to guard a housing estate in the coastal city of Pekalongan yesterday following fresh clashes between supporters of rival political parties.
Dili – Secessionist rebels ambushed a vehicle in East Timor, killing four members of a village defense force and two others in the deadliest rebel attack in more than a year, the military said Wednesday.
Jenny Grant and Agencies in Jakarta – Troops were called out in the town of Pekalongan yesterday as political violence flared again.
"Armed soldiers are stationed in the town. Many shops are closed today because the owners are afraid of fresh violence," said one resident.
An ethnic Chinese man has been jailed for 3.5 years for triggering a race riot in West Java. Tjio Kim Tjang, 55, was convicted of spreading hatred against a certain group in Rengasdengklok by submitting them to humiliating acts.
Jakarta – President Soeharto's health has been an issue in the foreign media all week. It was reported that Suharto (77) suffered a mild stroke on April 1. This report was denied by Foreign Minister Ali Alatas as nonsense.
Keith Loveard – When armed men robbed a bank in the northern town of Lhokseumawe earlier this year, Indonesia's top brass noticed. Not because the men escaped with $172,000. Nor because they killed two people and wounded three military police. Rather, the generals suspected this was no ordinary heist but the work of Acehnese separatists.
April 8, 1997
Andi Syahpputra, 31 years old, has been sentenced by a Jakarta court to thirty months in prison for printing the journal, Suara Independen, publication of the independent journalists' organisation, AJI.
Surabaya – A strike by around 2,000 workers from PT Ria Star Indonesia (RSI) Surabaya [East Java] followed a confrontation with security forces. As a result, 11 people suffered serious wounds to the head, stomach and chest, legs and arms because they were beaten by security personnel.
Louise Williams, Jakarta – The central Javanese town of Pekalongan was under military control yesterday after further political riots over the weekend which left at least five people injured and more than 60 shops and homes damaged or destroyed.
Surabaya – The Jatim Indonesian Legal and Justice Defence Team (TPHKI) handling the defence of the subversion case against two Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) members Dita Indah Sari and Coen Husein Pontoh have asked that the judge free the two accused.
According to reports in Monday's Republika and Media Indonesia, there were more disturbances in the northern Central Java city of Pekalangan. Around midnight Sunday, 6 April thousands of people ran riot on the streets, destroying motorbikes and vehicles. A tomato puree warehouse was destroyed as well as a batik dyes shop.
Surabaya – A sticker calling for the failure of the 1997 general election has been distributed in Surabaya. Measuring 10x20 centimeters it was distributed in schools and stuck the walls of houses and offices.
April 7, 1997
Jakarta – Indonesia said on Monday that Nobel Peace laureate Jose Ramos Horta's claim that he had fresh evidence of widespread torture in East Timor was "a lot of nonsense."
Indonesian Ambassador-at-large, Lopes Da cruz, has refuted foreign allegations that a special program has been developed to spread Islam in the predominantly Roman Catholic province of East Timor. "That is untrue. Catholicism is well developed in that area [East Timor]," he said in Canada on Saturday.
34 people accused of being involved in the demonstration in Dili during the visit last month of Jamsheed Marker, the UN special envoy, are to go on trial very soon, according to a report in today's Kompas 7/IV., quoting Dili police chief, Lr ColBeno Kalipong. They will be charged with physical assault against members of the security forces.
Geneva – The camera zooms in to show a man's blood-covered wrist, nailed to his prison plank. Men in khakis torture inmates with sticks, chair legs, electric shocks and metal chains. A corpse wrapped in rags lies in a corner.
April 6, 1997
When Jose Ramos Horta won the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with his fellow East Tmorese, Monsignor Carlos Felipe Ximenes Belo, there were hopes he might be able to dispel the dark cloud of silence that has engulfed the genocide of his people.
ASIET has received the following message (abridged translation) from the East Timorese underground in Java.
Statement begins: Suharto regime murders more Maubere people
April 5, 1997
Paul Mcgeough and agencies – Dozens of young East Timorese detained since the military broke up a peaceful demonstration in Dili two weeks ago are still in prison, some showing clear signs of being beaten by their captors, the Most Rev Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo says.
ASIET has received the following message (abridged translation) from the East Timorese underground in Java
Statement begins: Suharto regime murders more Maubere people
The Government seems to be widening its crackdown on political dissent but students argue that this tactic will simply cripple the next generation of leaders, writes LOUISE WILLIAMS from Yogyakarta, central Java.
April 4, 1997
Agence France Presse in Jakarta - Foreign Minister Ali Alatas yesterday dismissed rumours that President Suharto had suffered a stroke.
"News like that is common; everything was clearly made up, it was engineered," he said after meeting Mr Suharto at the presidential office.
Julisu Usman and Saleh Abdullah, activists from PUDI, were released on 3 April after being held by the Attorney-General for 29 days. This was confirmed by their lawyer, Irianto Subiakto of the LBH, who said they had been released on the surety of their families.
Gordon Feeney, Jakarta – A new Australian study has accused glamour sports shoe maker Nike of callous exploitation of workers, including children as young as 11.
The study, by Perth academic Mr Peter Hancock, also alleges that in one case in early 1996 a 23-year old woman collapsed from exhaustion in a factory licensed by Nike to make its products.
New report reveals "worst conditions yet" in Nike contractor's factory.
Jakarta – Foreign Minister Ali Alatas said today that the whole debate around President Suharto's health, which has been given ample coverage in the foreign press, is the result of a conspiracy engineered by speculators.
April 3, 1997
Jakarta – Indonesia banned political parties contesting the May 29 general election from obtaining foreign aid, the Media Indonesia newspaper reported yesterday. "It is against the law for the parties to ask for foreign funds even though they feel that the election funding is insufficient," it quoted Mr H. S. A. Yusacc, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, as saying on Tuesday.
Denpasar – The pro-Soerjadi Indonesian Democratic Party Secretariat in Denpasar, Wednesday (2/4) yesterday at around 1.30pm, was occupied by around 250 pro-Megawati supporters.
The PDI masses held the action after being disappointed by the decision of the Denpasar state court against them [pro-Megawati supporters] and in favor of the pro-Soerjadi congress in Medan.
Yogya korem commander Col Gaffar has said that the 24 students arrested while demonstrating on the Gadjah Mada University campus are now under investigation by the Yogya police. Those proven to be involved will be tried, he said. He said they are all UGM students; seven are women. Three who appear to have been leading the action are named as Vic, Kur and Tri.
24 students A protest against the arrest of 24 students in Yogyakarta, Central Java on 1 April has resulted in eight further arrests and beatings of protestors in the city.
Ian Howarth – BHP Petroleum was announced yesterday as the operator of a new multibillion-dollar oil and gas development in the Timor Sea, based on the rich Bayu-Undan discovery.
The $1 billion first stage of the project was confirmed yesterday, and the final details of an associated proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) project will be settled within weeks.
Jenny Grant, Jakarta – Indonesia's leader for 30 years, President Suharto, has sounded a note of caution about his age, while his daughter shapes up as a strong candidate for vice-president.
"Please take my age into account because I will be 77 next year," Mr Suharto told a group of youth activists.
April 2, 1997
Jenny Grant, Jakarta – The ousted leader of the Indonesian Democracy Party, Megawati Sukarnoputri, plans to withdraw support for the party in the elections as a protest against the man who unseated her.
"Megawati and her followers will use their voting rights to choose one of the other two parties," said a senior source.
A score of youths grouped in the Indonesian Youth Committee last week staged a demonstration in front of the Attorney General Office in Jakarta, demanding the release of Sri Bintang Pamungkas and his friends who are in the prosecution custody on charges of subversion.
Jakarta – After years of living contentedly, many import-dependent businesses in Indonesia worry that changes in customs procedures could bring back the bad old days at the country's ports.
SN Vasuki – As Indonesia's ruling establishment braces itself for crucial parliamentary elections on May 29, analysts are puzzled by the government's plan to hold a seminar on the dramatic events that led to the exit of President Sukarno in 1966.
Opinion leaders say the Indonesian government's plan to invite foreign observers to monitor the implementation of the 1997 general election is a progressive step, which will not only improve the country's image abroad but also encourage us to carry out an honest, fair and democratic election.
Jakarta – The ghost of Indonesia's founding president Sukarno still haunts his successor, Suharto, who is intent on stressing the legitimacy of his rise to power 30 years ago, observers say.
Lisbon – The Indonesian police has still under custody 25 out of the 33 East Timorese students arrested last week after breaking into the Austrian embassy, sources told Lusa.
Jakarta – President Suharto's children and other relatives will contest general elections next month while opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri and her supporters have been barred, a final list of candidates showed yesterday.
On April 2, 1997 students from several Yogyakarta universities along with members of the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI)- Struggle organised in the Indonesian Democratic Struggle Committee (KPDI) carried out a protest action against the arrest of 24 people during a Hunger Strike for Megawati and Democracy action at Gajah Mada University on April 1
Some 24 students were arrested and several others injured when members of the Indonesian security forces broke up a demonstration in Yogyakarta, Central Java on 1 April 1997. According to one report, those arrested are detained in Sleman District Military Command Centre, other reports suggest that they are being held in police custody.
April 1, 1997
Jakarta – Indonesia's main Muslim party has accused a number of ulamas of inciting last week's riots in a small Central Java town, a report said yesterday.
Today on April 1 the repressive apparatus of the New Order has acted even more brutally against the movement to establish democracy in Indonesia. The Armed Forces ferociously and ruthlessy attacked a HUNGER STRIKE FOR MEGAWATI AND DEMOCRACY being conducted in the Gajah Mada University Boulevarde.
Indonesian police have freed 33 East Timorese who had been held since last Thursday after entering the Austrian embassy in Jakarta in an effort to meet a United Nations envoy on East Timor. A diplomat says the youths were dropped off in three groups at different bus stations in the Indonesian capital. It is not known whether police plans to press charges against the youths.