Jakarta – Five Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) activists who are witnesses in the trial of Garda Sembiring in the Central Jakarta State Court on Wednesday (12/3), jointly withdrew their statements in their Preliminary Investigation Reports (BAP). The grounds were that they were in the same position as Garda, that is accused in the same case.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
March 13, 1997
Jakarta – President Suharto said there was no room for political dissent in Indonesia and that critics of his government did not understand the country's political system, The Jakarta Post reported yesterday. "There are people who analyse our 1945 Constitution using a foreign frame of mind," he told a meeting of senior government officials on Tuesday.
[Re posting re Ausaid to East Timor in the form of working with the Indonesian government to aid East Timor, specifically in the area of agriculture.]
Margot Cohen, Cirebon, West Java – Rohiman used to make a decent living selling eggs and cooking oil, but those entrepreneurial days are long gone. Now he spends his days sweating behind the handlebars of a pedicab, hauling people and goods through the streets of his hometown of Cirebon, West Java.
March 12, 1997
Jakarta – Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) activist, Garda Sembiring at the Central Jakarta Court on Tuesday (11/3), withdrew all of this "testimony" [quotes added - JB] on Budiman Sudjatmiko in his Preliminary Investigation Report (BAP). He also refused to become a witness against Budiman.
Louise Williams, Jakarta – Lawyers for Ms Megawati Sukarnoputri have challenged the Supreme Court to show that its judges were not ordered by the Soeharto Government to rule against the Indonesian democracy leader.
Semarang, Central Java – Commander of the Indonesian Armed Forces (ABRI), Gen Feisal Tanjung, warned here Monday that there will be no compromise for those who disrupt national stability.
Situbondo, Kompas – Six people tried in connection with the October 10 Sitibundo riots have been sentenced to 6-14 months by the Situbondo state court (11/3). They were proven to have destroyed and burnt a court house, files, state documents and office equipment.
Pontianak – The ethnic conflict between Madurans and Dayaks in Kalbar has calmed down. However there are still no definite figures on the number of victims. The government has yet to release any official figures. Army chief Maj-Gen Zacky Makarim gave a figure of 300 dead, half Dayaks and half Madurans. This figure was supported by Commander Tanjung-pura Mayjen Namoeri Anoem.
March 11, 1997
Three young student activists, arrested by police in Jakarta on 6 March 1997 and currently believed to be in South Jakarta Police Resort, are feared to be at risk of torture or ill-treatment in custody. There is no information about whether they have access to independent lawyers or family members. Torture and ill-treatment of political detainees is common in Indonesia.
Jakarta – The Indonesian army held manoeuvres in central Jakarta yesterday, dropping crack special intervention forces from helicopters in full combat gear.
The unannounced exercise was carried out without a hitch but under the intense scrutiny of passers-by and motorists in Selamat Datang Place, the capital's business centre.
Surabaya – After HJC Princen, Prof Dr. Mudji Sutrisno and Prof Dr. JE Sahetapy, S.H., giliran Dr. Afan Gaffar, political experts from the Gajah Mada University (UGM) were witnesses in the trials of Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) members Dita Indah Sari (25), Coen Husein Pontoh (28), and M. Sholeh in the Surabaya State Court.
March 10, 1997
Human Rights Watch/Asia today called for the immediate release of Indonesian opposition politician Sri Bintang Pamungkas who was arrested on the night of March 5 in Jakarta on charges of subversion and said his detention was further evidence of President Soeharto's increasingly harsh response to his critics.
Jakarta – President Soeharto denied foreign allegation here Friday that the Indonesian government was allowing children to work as child laborers.
He said many young children in the country were working to follow a tradition whereby children help parents earn a living.
Indonesia Legal Aid and Human Rights Association (PBHI) is deeply concern and protest the arrest of Dr. Ir. Sri Bintang Pamungkas, Julius Usman and Saleh Abdullah in the connection of PUDI affair and Iedul Fitri greeting card which stating PUDI's political agenda. PBHI expressed our point of view as follow:
Jakarta – The National Commission on Human Rights and labor activists have joined forces to pressure legislators into overhauling a new bill that aims to give the government sweeping control of labor affairs. The commission and representatives of 11 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) said yesterday there could be violations of workers' basic rights if the bill became law.
Brussels – Indonesia's detained labour leader, Muchtar Pakpahan has been admitted to a private hospital in Jakarta yesterday where he is being treated for vertigo. The admission comes after weeks of battles in and out of court to have him admitted to a private hospital and exmanied by his own doctor rather than government doctors at the Jakarta police hospital.
Rahul Jacob – At a press conference late last month following his takeover as chairman of carmaker Astra International, one of Indonesia's bluest of blue-chips, Mohamad "Bob" Hasan seemed completely in his element. By turns combative and charming, he even grabbed a camera from the crush of photographers and took a picture of the press.
Jakarta – The arrest of three student activists, Ilhamsyah, Bimo Petrus and Herni Sualan, who are suspected of being involved in an action by the Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) on March 5 is considered by the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) to have a number of irregularities in the process of their arrest and detention.
Canberra – Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas has lauded the Australian government's objection to include human rights in the European Union trade pact, Australian Deputy Prime Minister/Trade Minister Tim Fischer said.
Minister of State Moerdiono said that the Indonesian Government will not allow a recommendation to go forward from the UN Commission on Human Rights for the UN Human Rights High Commissioner to open an office in Jakarta. This would be a violation of Indonesia's sovereignty, he said.
March 9, 1997
A verbal spat at a concert late last year unleashed a wave of riots in West Kalimantan that left about 200 people dead and two dozen settlements destroyed. In a recent special report, The Jakarta Post examines the causes of the riots that have pitted the native Dayaks against the Madurese community.
Jakarta – The Indonesian government will break new ground in the May general election by allowing foreign observers free access to the polls.
"We will invite neighbouring and foreign countries to monitor the election," Home Affairs Minister Yogie Memet, also chairman of the National Election Institute, was quoted as saying in yesterday's editions of the Jakarta Post daily.
March 8, 1997
The head of SBSI (Serikat Buruh Sejahtra Indonesia, Indonesian Trade Union for Prosperity) Muchtar Pakpahan refused to appear at the South Jakarta State Court on Thursday (6/3) because he was suffering from vertigo.
Witnesses from the Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) Budiman Sudjatmiko and Garda Sembiring also did not appear in court.
Jakarta – Indonesia's National Election Committee yesterday approved a final list of 2,285 candidates from three political parties sanctioned to contest the parliamentary election in May.
Eight candidates from a provisional list of 2,293 approved by the committee in January were dropped for various reasons, including resignations and death.
Louise Williams, Jakarta – President Soeharto has ordered the army reserve to prepare to mobilise to counter further civil unrest, warning political dissidents that anti-Government groups would not be tolerated.
The Indonesian Journalists Association is to sue Central Java security officials accused of roughing up a journalist.
The association's branch in Yogyakarta, central Java, says it will sue the local security authorities in the town of Bantul, ten kilometres south of Yogyakarta.
[Statement for the International Women's Day March, 8, 1997.]
Dita Sari, Chairperson of Indonesian Centre for Labour Struggles and leader of the Peoples Democratic Party of Indonesia. Dita was a guest speaker at the 1995 Perth IWD march and rally.
Joe Leahy, Jakarta – President Suharto has warned his former military unit, the elite Strategic Reserve Command, to stay on alert to counter "anti-government" groups.
Jakarta – Human rights group Asia Watch called for the immediate release of noted dissident Sri Bintang Pamungkas, who was being arrested on charges of subversion.
The New York-based group described the detention of Pamungkas, a former outspoken legislator, as further evidence of President Suharto's increasingly harsh response to his critics.
Jakarta – At least six people had been killed as tribal clashes in the Indonesian province of Irian Jaya entered a second day yesterday, local sources said.
"War broke out again this morning, fiercer than yesterday, and three people have already been killed, shot by arrows," said Mr Tom Beanal, head of the Institute for the Amungme Society from Timika, in Irian Jaya.
March 7, 1997
The Government today refused to cancel arms export licences to Indonesia triggering a legal challenge from three campaigning organisations. It will be the first ever legal challenge to the Government's arms export policy.
Louise Williams, Jakarta – A former member of Parliament and prominent pro-democracy activist, Sri Bintang Pamungkas, has been arrested on subversion charges carrying a maximum penalty of death, closing one of the last channels of political opposition ahead of the May national elections.
[This is our translation of two news reports on the tragic recent events in West Kalimantan sent via Kabar dari PIJAR on Wednesday, March 12, 1997 4:49 AM (Translation provided by Down-to-Earth).]
A chronology of the conflicts following the Sanggau Ledo events
Jakarta – The Indonesian government has rejected a plan by the United Nations to station a human rights commissioner in Jakarta to monitor the situation in East Timor, a newspaper said Friday.
Jakarta – A Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) circular calling for an election boycott has also been distributed in Bogor, West Java. The circular was pasted up in all of the strategic places at around 3am last night in the name of KPP-PRD.
Joe Leahy – Sri Bintang Pamungkas says the Government has played into his hands by detaining him and senior members of his outlawed Indonesian United Democratic Party.
Bintang, the party's founder and chairman, claims his detention is part of a nationwide sweep on dissidents before the national election on May 29.
March 6, 1997
A foreign ministry official has dismissed a report that the UN High Commission for Human Rights is to open an office in Jakarta to monitor the situation in East Timor, a report said Friday.
Jakarta – Garda Sembiring, one of the Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) members accused of subversion and his lawyer carried out a "walk out" action on Wednesday March 5. This was in response to a decision by the judge to allow the prosecutor to read out a witness' statement in accordance with the Preliminary Investigation Report (BAP).
Louise Williams, Jakarta – In an apparent effort to boost their international image, the Indonesian armed forces have asked three prestigious British universities to establish the country's first officers' training program to include human rights and international law.
[This item was received on March 6. The original sender and posting are unknown. Grammatical and spelling errors have been left uncorrected intentionally - JB]
= QUOTED =
Joe Leahy in Jakarta and Reuterss in Washington – A United States congressman who wants Washington to cut aid to Indonesia because of human rights violations in East Timor is being manipulated by separatist forces in the province, the Indonesian Government suggested yesterday.
March 5, 1997
Jakarta – Three Democratie People's Party (PRD) activists refused yesterday to testify against their leader Budiman Sujatmiko who is on trial for subversion.
John Gittings – The son-in-law of President Suharto, Indonesia's ageing dictator, has persuaded a research centre at London University to set up a five-year training project for senior military officers.
Tasikmalaya – Kodim (Komando Dearah Militer, District Military Command) III Siliwangi said yesterday (4/2) they were still searching for the maker and distributor of a leaflet who's contents discredited the New Order government and called for an election boycott. Around 6,000 leaflets were sized, 200 are believed to have already been distributed.
Jakarta – Indonesian Vice-President Try Sutrisno has warned Catholic Students' Association activists against being provoked by campaigns aimed at discrediting the government and stirring up political chaos.
Jack David, Jakarta – Pessimists say that the current political trials of a dozen labor and student activists here indicate declining stability in Indonesia, and a bleak future for human rights observance.
Louise Williams, Jakarta – Indonesia is facing a "crisis of national unity", with up to 1,200 people missing following three months of ethnic fighting in West Kalimantan, according to a recent fact-finding mission.
Jakarta – Indonesian police in the East Timorese enclave of Ambeno have arrested nine people over ethnic unrest there last month, which left one migrant dead, The Jakarta Post reported yesterday.
March 4, 1997
Jakarta – Central Java textile maker PT Sritex has won a Rp 2 5 billion (US$10.87 million) contract to make 500,000 military uniforms for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) starting this year, a company executive said.