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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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June 18, 1997

Radio Australia - June 18, 1997

Indonesia's new Information Minister, General Hartono, says there will be no relaxation in a law which allows the government to ban newspapers and magazines.

Speaking after a meeting with President Suharto, the general said the law was needed in case there were publications which could NOT be tolerated.

Associated Press - June 18, 1997

Jay Solomon, Jakarta – American Embassy officials here have grown increasingly somber over the past month, listening to the war of words between Indonesia and the US But help is nowhere in sight.

Labor Alerts/Labor News - June 18, 1997

[This information was passed along to Campaign for Labor Rights by the East Timor Action Network (ETAN), in North America, which received it from East Timor Independence, in New Zealand. This report also is based on information provided by Jeff Ballinger, of Press for Change, and Max Surjadinata, in New York.]

Background

June 17, 1997

Associated Press - June 17, 1997

Jakarta – Officials say communists were to blame for recent riots in East Java, and troops have been ordered to shoot troublemakers on sight, the official Antara news agency said today.

Straits Times - June 17, 1997

Susan Sim, Jakarta – The pressure from the human rights lobby in developed countries is getting stronger and developing countries should band together to counter it, President Suharto said yesterday.

Straits Times - June 17, 1997

Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas made it clear what he thought of objections in the US Congress over the sale of nine F-16 fighter planes to Indonesia when the issue came up early this year.

Radio Australia - June 17, 1997

Landowners in Indonesia's Irian Jaya province have burned down six new houses built for migrants under a transmirgration resettlement scheme.

A leader of the Kwimi village 40 kilometres south of the provincial capital of Jayapura says he ordered the burning because the project had cut down a sago tree forest without adequate compensation for the villagers.

Watch Indonesia, Berlin - June 17, 1997

In common letters to Indonesia's National Human Rights Commission, KOMNAS HAM, the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, and the German Minister of Foreign Affairs seven Indonesian and German organizations urged on the necessity to send another independent fact finding mission to the City of Banjarmasin, the capital of the Indonesian South Kalimant

Interpress News Service - June 17, 1997

Farhan Haq, United Nations – Indonesian troops have stepped up a campaign of arrests and atrocities against the civilian population in East Timor, pro-Timorese activists and human rights groups argue.

Kompas - June 17, 1997

Jakarta – The head of the Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) department of education and propaganda, I Gusti Agung Anom Astika, was sentenced to four years minus the time he had already spent in jail.

South China Morning Post - June 17, 1997

Jenny Grant, Jakarta – Supporters of ousted opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri maintained pressure on the Government yesterday, demanding election results be cancelled and rival Indonesian Democracy Party (PDI) leader Suryadi be sacked.

June 16, 1997

Radio Australia - June 16, 1997

Police have arrested 15 people after weekend riots on the Indonesian island of Madura in which a Muslim crowd burned shops, a Protestant church and a Buddhist temple.

East Java police spokesman Colonel Sofwat Hadi says police are still investigating the cause of the disturbance.

At least one police officer was injured during the riot.

George J. Aditjondro - June 16, 1997

The Muslim-led United Development Party (PPP) has announced last Friday, June 12, that it would accept the results of last month's election. This means, that the PPP leadership has yielded to the authorities' pressure, and not to their own constituency, who had demanded that the party should reject the results of the election.

Media release - June 16, 1997

The 'East Timorese Students Movement for Peace' (METLP) distributed a document addressed to the Head of the Parliament of Indonesia on Monday 16 June. In conjunction with this, a rally of East Timorese students has been organised at the regional Parliament in Surabaya at 10.00 am.

Liberation - June 16, 1997

The vulgar and blatant election fraud by the government, election administrators and the military to ensure a victory for the Golkar's sole majority is no longer being tolerated by the people.

Radio Australia - June 16, 1997

An Indonesian court has jailed two activists from the banned People's Democratic Party or P-R-D after they were found guilty of subversion.

The two men who were convicted of undermining the state ideology, criticizing the armed forces and attempting to topple the government.

June 15, 1997

HKS - June 15, 1997

Jakarta – Hundreds of people rampaged through a conservative Muslim-dominated town on the East Javan island of Madura, torching shops and a cinema as well as a church and a Buddhist temple.

"I do not know the reason behind it, but hundreds of people disrupted a ceremony at the central square of Bangkalan on Saturday night," an official said.

East Timor Action Network - June 15, 1997

The East Timor Action Network (ETAN) plans to intensify its congressional lobbying campaign in the aftermath of a flury of activity related to Indonesia in the US House of Representatives this past week.

Compiled by Alicia Cullen - June 15, 1997

Earlier this week, the Australian Democrats called on the Australian government to take a public stand against continuing human rights abuses in East Timor following the US Congressional Amendment on East Timor initiated by Senator Patrick Kennedy and resulting also in the cancellation with Indonesia of the IMET defense program.

June 14, 1997

Jakarta Post - June 14, 1997

Dili – Col. Salamat Sidabutar took over his new post as chief of the Wiradharma military command yesterday and pledged to crack down harder on Fretilin separatists.

Sydney Morning Herald - June 14, 1997

Dili – On the outskirts of Baucau near the military airport, two stones on the road mark the place where Amaro Belo, a 35-year-old East Timorese, was gunned down by troops of the Indonesian Special Forces (Kopassus) last Friday night at 6pm.

June 13, 1997

The Nation (Editorial & Opinion) - June 13, 1997

The Indonesian president creates a comfort zone with the appointment of a new army chief, writes The Nation's Abu Rahman from Jakarta.

Indonesian President Suharto finally replaced army chief Gen R Hartono, one of the most powerful figures in Indonesian politics, after months of rumours and speculation.

SiaR - June 13, 1997

Jakarta – A Pos Makasar journalist Mohamad Sayuti known as Sandrego, died as a result of a severe beating in the sub-offices of the regency of Palopo, South Sulawasi, on Thursday June 12. The incident occurred after the journalist was confirming information about deforestation in the region.

Asiaweek - June 13, 1997

Keith Loveard, Jakarta – The outcome of an Indonesian election is supposed to be predictable and, in that regard, the May 29 parliamentary polls did not disappoint. Golkar, the long-ruling party backed by President Suharto, the military and big business, always wins. Only the margin of its victory varies a bit.

Lusa - June 13, 1997

Sydney – Indonesian security forces killed on June 9 an East Timorese youth in the province of Viqueque, after accusing him of collaborating with the local resistance self-determination movement, a source has told Lusa.

Antara - June 13, 1997

Jayapura, Irian Jaya – Twelve members of a security disturbance group (GPK) along with 10 adults and 11 children who had been hiding near the Irian Jaya-Papua New Guinea borders have surrendered to the military in Opkim village, Merauke district.

Antara - June 13, 1997

Jakarta – France will not set any political condition if Indonesia wishes to purchase its warplanes, the French Embassy's military attache, Col M Jean Roucher, said here Wednesday.

Roucher was commenting on the departure of an Indonesian group to attend an air show in Le Bourget, France.

Agence France Presse - June 13, 1997

Geneva – The UN Development Programme mistakenly included East Timor in a item on Indonesia in a 1997 report, a spokeswoman said here Friday, stressing that the UN has never recognized the annexation of the former Portuguese colony.

Radio Australia - June 13, 1997

Indonesian authorities are reported to have moved hundreds of inmates from a jail in East Java, to other prisons in the region after rioting prisoners set part of the jail on fire.

The Indonesian daily, Kompas, said inmates of the high-security Medaeng prison in Sidoarjo, south of Surabaya, rioted on Wednesday, setting fire to the prison's office and breaking down walls.

June 12, 1997

Wall Street Journal - June 12, 1997

Andrew Macintyre – Uncertainty hangs over Indonesia's political future. After roughly two decades of relatively smooth sailing, there are now some doubts about the stability and direction of the national political leadership.

Info Pembebasan (Liberation) - June 12, 1997

On June 12, the private television station SCTV reported that a riot had occurred at the Medaeng prison, Surabaya (East Java). Dita Indah Sari, chair of the Center for Labour Struggle which is affiliated with the Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) was imprisoned there.

Far Eastern Economic Review - June 12, 1997

Margot Cohen, Malang – A s village secretary, he knew every trick in the book. Presiding over previous vote counts, he would puncture ballots with a swift flick of a thumbnail, and spoil others with a rusty nail lodged under the table. He cast his own vote as many as six times at different polling stations.

June 11, 1997

Digest No. 34 (Indonesian news with comment) - June 11, 1997

The complete collapse of the PDI in the 1997 election left the Islamically coloured PPP as the only viable non-government party. Does this mean the Indonesian government now faces a Turkish, or even an Algerian scenario of popular opposition focused only on the symbols of Islam? No, it does not.

Agence France Presse - June 11, 1997

Jakarta – An Indonesian court in troubled East Timor has jailed a youth to six months and 15 days for involvement in violence in the main town of Dili on Christmas eve, a report said Wednesday.

June 10, 1997

Antara - June 10, 1997

Jakarta – Chiefs of the Armed Forces services and National Police promoted as full generals called on Armed Forces (ABRI) Commander Gen Feisal Tanjung here on Tuesday to report their new ranks. The newly promoted four-star generals are Navy Chief Admiral Arief Kushariadi, Air Force Chief Marshall Sutria Tubagus, and National Police Chief Gen Dibyo Widodo.

Reuters - June 10, 1997

Washington – The US House of Representatives on Tuesday unanimously approved an amendment condemning human rights abuses committed by Indonesia in the former Portuguese colony of East Timor.

Agence France Presse - June 10, 1997

Jakarta – The Indonesian government on Wednesday hit out at comments by US congressman Patrick Kennedy after Jakarta's decision to forego its planned purchase of US fighter planes were absurd and outrageous.

Kennedy's statement of a "major human rights victory" following Jakarta's decision not to buy the F-16s was "simply absurd," a foreign ministry statement said.

Agence France Presse - June 10, 1997

Indonesia is now perusing a shopping list of jet fighters from various countries after pulling out of a deal to buy nine US F- 16s, a high-ranking source said here Tuesday.

Russian Sukhoi-27s, British Hawk 200s and the French Mirage-2000 were all under scrutiny by military authorities, said the Indonesian source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The Times (Britain) - June 10, 1997

Michael Evans and Edward Yates, Jakarta – Britain wants to persuade its European partners to sign a new code of conduct on arms exports to prevent weapons from reaching regimes that might use them for internal repression.

The Guardian (UK) - June 10, 1997

Adam Sweeting – Is there any such thing as ethical arms trading? Robin Cook has pledged the Government to a policy of not selling arms to repressive or aggressive regimes. An admirable philosophy, but boil it down logically and you're left with 'we promise not to sell weapons to anybody who might use them', or 'we'll only sell weapons to nice people'.

Deutsche Presse Agentur - June 10, 1997

Jakarta – Russia is offering advanced jet fighters to Indonesia without any political conditions, a Russian embassy official said in Jakarta Tuesday.

Moscow's offer was part of Russia's marketing of its aircraft in the Asia Pacific and Southeast Asian region, an embassy information officer, Iouri I. Naskov, told the Indonesian news agency Antara.

June 9, 1997

Wall Street Journal - June 9, 1997

Richard Borsuk, Jakarta – President Suharto's surprise appointment of a new information minister may herald tighter control of Indonesia's media. The abrupt replacement of long-serving Information Minister Harmoko with retiring army Chief of Staff Gen. Hartono also could provide clues about the country's political succession.

Agence France Presse - June 9, 1997

Jakarta – One of four men arrested in connection with a market fire in the East Timor capital Dili has been implicated in an attack on a truck last month which left 17 policemen dead, police said.

Radio Australia - June 9, 1997

A report in Britain's Independent newspaper claims as many as four-thousand people in Indonesia's Kalimantan province were ritually murdered in an ethnic war in January and February this year.

Philippa Adam reports from London that the death toll is sharply at odds with official Indonesian estimates.

June 8, 1997

Far Eastern Economic Review - June 8, 1997

Jakarta – Indonesian security officers have so far captured 120 members of the separatist guerrilla movement in troubled East Timor after a recent surge of violence over the country's general election period, the official Antara news agency reported on Sunday.

Suara Pembaruan (abridged) - June 8, 1997

Dili – Four out of six members of GPK from Baucau and Viqueque, Timor Timur, who had been caught to have torched a public market (Old Mercado) in Dili causing 500 kiosks to burn on Saturday (June 6) were successfuly arrested by personnel of Timor Timur's criminal police bureau.

John Roosa - June 8, 1997

We are inside Jakarta's fortress-like Cipinang prison for a Sunday afternoon potluck lunch. The families and friends of the political prisoners have brought specially prepared home-cooked dishes for the day's celebration. Anom Astika, arrested last year along with the entire leadership of the People's Democratic Party (PRD), has just turned 26 and his sister has recently married.

June 7, 1997

Down To Earth - June 7, 1997

President Suharto's right hand man, Bob Hasan, was awarded the prestigious Indonesian environment prize – the Kalpataru – by Environment Minister Sarwono on World Environment Day (June 5th).

Liberation - June 7, 1997

[Interview between Mirah Mardika. Coordinator, Central Leadership Committee, Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) and Liberation, June 7, 1997 - ASIET]

Liberation: The election seemed to have been a success, even though there were some small disturbances, What happened to the Election Boycott?