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.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
June 17, 1997
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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'.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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).
[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?
June 6, 1997
Ian MacKenzie, Jakarta – Indonesia struck back at U.S. congressional critics on Friday, dropping its participation in an American military training program and scrapping plans to buy nine U.S.-made F-16 warplanes.
A quite surprising reorganisation of the cabinet and changes in the leadership of the army by the president were announced on Wednesday. This was announced by the State Secretary Moerdiono and armed forces chief Faisal Tanjung.
The East Timor Human Rights Centre (ETHRC) has received further information about David Dias Ximenes who was arrested on 31 May at his home in Dili. An ETHRC source has confirmed that a warrant was issued for Ximenes' arrest and that he has now had access to legal representation.
ASIET has received information, still to be confirmed, that there are plans to move Budiman Sujatmiko, President of the Peoples Democratic Party (PRD), to Nusakambangan prison.
Budiman was recently sentenced to 13 years prison for leading the PRD in its struggle against the Suharto dictatorship.
Canberra – Australia's labor federation will support Indonesia at an International Labor Organisation (ILO) conference to be held in Geneva, Switzerland, next june 12, a visiting Indonesian labor leader said here Thursday.
The East Timor Human Rights Centre (ETHRC) holds grave fears for the safety of seven East Timorese men arrested between 29 and 30 May, 1997, in the sub-district of Atabae, Bobonaro. The arrests are believed to be part of the repercussions which have followed the wave of violence surrounding the the recent Indonesian election.
Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy (D-RI) termed the announcement that Indonesia has cancelled a deal to purchase nine F-19 fighter planes from the United States, due to the pressure he has applied on the Indonesian government, as a "major human rights victory".
East Timorese resistance leader Jose Ramos Horta has condemned any targeting of civilians by the resistance movement.
He made the comment after allegations that nine civilians were killed by the guerillas in East Timor, in what could be a dramatic change in tactics used in the conflict.
Jakarta – The armed forces headquarters (Mabes ABRI) has begun putting pressure on the Indonesian press. During a meeting of military heads in Cilangkap, last June 3, it was concluded that the mass media, especially those who covered the general elections were considered to have criticized the government.
June 5, 1997
New York – We have received new information about the killing of seven civilians at the home of Castelho, a teacher at the local elementary school in Irara, Los Palos, East Timor, that raises questions about the identity of the attackers.