Jakarta – The private secretary of one of Indonesia's founding fathers was put on trial in Jakarta Tuesday, for insulting president Suharto by printing a booklet written by his employer. Jenny Grant reports it is the latest in a string of political trials in Indonesia.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
August 5, 1997
Andrei Khalip, Moscow – Indonesia's decision to replace a big defence order from the United States with arms from Russia heralds a big breakthrough for an industry badly hit by the collapse of the Soviet superpower.
Lisbon – Portugal said on Tuesday it would not retaliate in kind after South Africa expelled its ambassador over the leaking of a misdirected letter from President Nelson Mandela.
"We have no intention of asking for the expulsion of the South African ambassador to Lisbon," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Ana Zacarias told Reuters.
Jakarta – Indonesia has finally decided to purchase 12 Sukhoi 30K (SU-30K) jet fighters and eight multi-purpose MI-17-1V helicopters from Russia to boost the equipment of the Indonesian Armed Forces (ABRI).
August 4, 1997
Brendan Boyle, Cape Town – South Africa has expelled Portugal's ambassador over the leaking of a misdirected note from President Nelson Mandela to his Indonesian counterpart, but diplomatic ties remain intact, government sources said on Monday.
Pretoria – The South African President, Nelson Mandela, has said he invited East Timorese leaders to visit the African country in September.
Lisbon – Portugal said on Monday it regretted a decision by South Africa to expel its ambassador over the leaking of a misdirected note from President Nelson Mandela to Indonesian President Suharto.
August 3, 1997
Susan Sim, Jakarta – The good news is that the Indonesian forest fires this year are not as extensive as those three years ago.
The bad news is that they will be an annual problem for more years yet, despite the best intentions and efforts of the Indonesian government.
August 2, 1997
Jakarta – Indonesia has finally received a letter from South African President Nelson Mandela suggesting the possible release of jailed East Timorese resistance leader Xanana Gusmao, the official Antara news agency reported on Saturday.
August 1, 1997
A 'Training for Trainers' (TFT) course for members of the unrecognised trade union federation, the SBSI, being held in Lampung, South Sumatra, was broken up by a joint unit of military and police. After being questioned for three hours, the 26 participants were taken off and held at the local police command.
Attempts by the Indonesian security forces to quell disturbances which began on 21 August 1997 in the Timika area of Irian Jaya - Indonesia's easternmost province - have resulted in two local tribespeople being shot dead and 15 others being beaten, in some cases severely.
Jakarta – An Indonesian appeal court has ruled that a lower court has the authority to decide on a challenge by ousted minority party leader Megawati Sukarnoputri against her government-backed overthrow.
Andreas Harsono, Jakarta – On a hot Jakarta evening two weeks ago, in a grand colonial-style guest house at Indonesia's Merdeka Presidential Palace, South African President Nelson Mandela, Africa's most respected statesman talked and dined for about two hours with Xanana Gusmao, the jailed leader of East Timor,
July 31, 1997
Grave fears are held for the safety of 14 East Timorese men whose whereabouts is unknown following their arrest on 2 July, 1997, during an assault by the Indonesian military on the village of Wadaboru. Internal steps taken to locate them have been unsuccessful.
There are moves in Jakarta to press ahead with the subversion trial of Muchtar Pakpahan, chair of the unrecognised trade union, the SBSI, despite the fact that he is suffering from a number of ailments.
New York – On 25 July 1997, Naimullah, a reporter with the Jakarta-based morning daily newspaper "Sinar Pagi" was found murdered. Naimullah's body, mutilated by stab wounds in his neck, and bruises on his head, temples, chest, and wrists, was found in the back seat of his car in Pantai Penibungan, about 90 kilometres north of Pontianak, the provincial capital of West Kalimantan.
Hendardi, Jakarta - Discussions about corruption have re-surfaced recently. This issue became topical during general election campaigning for members of the House of Representatives and the regional legislative assemblies. The three contesting parties boasted anticorruption themes and pushed for the eradication of corrupt practices.
According to a report in Media Indonesia (22 July 1997), former MP, Sri-Bintang Pamungkas is to go on trial for subversion during the month of August.
Samsudin Berlian, Jakarta – The jailing more than two years ago of two journalists who defied the Indonesian government by publishing an unlicensed magazine was hardly a surprise. But their recent release has baffled many.
To the surprise of the journalistic community here, authorities freed Eko Maryadi and Ahmad Taufik from separate prisons in West Java on Jul 19.
Jakarta – Pro-independence rebels in the former Portuguese colony of East Timor have killed three Indonesian soldiers, military sources said on Thursday.
The soldiers were killed in an attack in Liquisa district, west of the territory's capital Dili, on Wednesday morning, one source said.
Further information on the clash was not immediately available.
July 30, 1997
Pretoria – South African President Nelson Mandela called on Indonesia Wednesday to free jailed East Timorese rebel leader Xanana Gusmao, saying his release was essential to resolve the conflict in the former Portuguese colony.
The East Timor Human Rights Centre (ETHRC) is concerned that no independent investigation has been undertaken into the alleged death on 25 June, 1997, of Commander David Alex, second in command of the East Timorese armed Resistance (Falintil).
July 29, 1997
Allan Thompson, Ottawa – Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy last year approved the sale of military equipment to Indonesia, which has been criticized for its human rights record and occupation of East Timor.
Jakarta – About a third of the World Bank's loans to Indonesia have leaked and disappeared into the bureaucracy, an export on Indonesia's economy said yesterday.
[The following is a slightly abridged translation of a report sent to ASIET by the Peoples Democratic Party (PRD)]
July 28, 1997
The East Timor Human Rights Centre (ETHRC) fears for the safety of Santina Morreira Belo, aged 22, and her baby aged under one, who disappeared after Santina Morreira Belo was arrested on 12 July 1997.
The UDT [Timorese Democratic Union] has reservations regarding [South African President] Nelson Mandela's diplomatic initiative on East Timor. The leader of UDT, one of the factions of the Timorese resistance, has said that caution is needed.
Jakarta – Jakarta police are holding 85 people arrested in opposition protests Sunday marking the one year anniversary of riots in the capital. Jenny Grant in Jakarta reports police expect to charge five of those in custody with fomenting hatred against the government.
[The following is a slightly abridged translation of a press statement sent to ASIET (Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor) by the underground PRD]
TAPOL is bitterly disappointed that the Government's proclaimed ethical foreign policy was today killed off in its infancy with Robin Cook's refusal to revoke the 1996 licences for export to Indonesia of Hawk aircraft, armoured vehicles and water cannon in his announcement of new arms trade criteria.
Washington – World Bank loans to Indonesia are thoroughly supervised and audited to ensure that they are devoted to the poverty-alleviating purposes for which they are intended, the institution said today.
[The following is an abridged translation of a report sent to ASIET by the underground Peoples Democratic Party]
[This is the second part of translation sent to ASIET by the Peoples Democratic Party (PRD). The first part was published in ASIET NetNews Number 29. Written Sunday July 27, 3.50pm]
The World Bank has a public face and a private face. The public face I call the Rhetorical Bank. This is the part of the Bank we are all familiar with – the Bank that produces World Development Reports, gives advice, and applies pressure for structural adjustment.
[The following is a translation of a statement sent to ASIET by the underground Peoples Democratic Party (PRD)]
July 27, 1997
[The following is a translation of a chronology sent to ASIET written on Sunday, July 27, 12 midnight and by the underground Peoples Democratic Party]
East Timor's Bishop Belo says he is declining an invitation to South Africa to meet President Nelson Mandela.
He says he has a lot of work to do in his dioscese and such a journey would be a waste of time.
Bishop Belo says that if President Mandela wants to talk about the politics of East Timor then he should talk to the Indonesian generals.
[The following are translations of a number of reports on the July 26 and 27 commemoration actions held in Jakarta and sent to ASIET by the underground Peoples Democratic Party (PRD). Please note that these reports were compiled, posted and translated within hours of the actions and an overall picture of what transpired remains unclear]
Jakarta – Riot police and soldiers blocked hundreds of demonstrators from holding a prayer service in front of the Indonesian Democracy Party headquarters, Sunday. from Jakarta, Jenny Grant reports the protesters were marking the first anniversary of violent riots in the capital.
[A version of this appears in the latest edition of the Darwin-based AustralAsian]
July 26, 1997
Jakarta – around 2,000 people gathered for a memorial service in Jakarta Saturday to mark one year since violent riots in the capital. Jenny Grant reports from the capital the event went ahead despite a police ban.
July 25, 1997
Jakarta – Indonesian police have banned weekend commemorations marking one year since riots in Jakarta left five people dead and more than 100 injured. Jenny Grant reports authorities are concerned the ceremonies may trigger new violence in the capital.
July 24, 1997
Jakarta – Hundreds of supporters of ousted opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri marched (Thursday) in Central Jakarta celebrating a minor court victory. Jenny Grant reports the march was part of a build up for weekend actions marking one year since riots in the capital.
The International Secretariat has been informed by a reliable source of the grave concern that exists for the physical and psychological integrity of Andreas Harsono who was involved with the establishment of an Independent Journalists Association in Indonesia (although he is not currently active).
July 23, 1997
[The following is a translation of a leaflet sent to ASIET by the Peoples Democratic Party (PRD). The original source of the leaflets and posters was not indicated.]
Johannesburg – South Africa's President Nelsom Mandela issued a statement through the President's Office confirming reports of his meeting with Fretilin (sic) leader, Xanana Gusmao, during his recent state visit to Indonesia.
July 22, 1997
Indonesian authorities are reported to have released two journalists jailed for insulting the Government.
The Jakarta Post newspaper says Achmad Taufik and Eko Mariyadi were released on parole on Saturday after serving nearly two-thirds of their three-year sentences.
Jim Della-Giacoma, Jakarta – Indonesia on Tuesday published an updated version of its 1995 white paper on defence, stressing the importance of regional links in maintaining security.
Officials said while releasing the 66-page document that the document was part of confidence-building measures suggested by the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).
July 21, 1997
Jakarta – Indonesia on Monday said it had rejected overseas medical treatment for an ailing independent labour leader on trial for subversion.
Mucthar Pakpahan, head of the unrecognised Indonesian Labour Welfare Union (SBSI), has been in a private Jakarta hospital since March when his subversion trial was postponed indefinitely after he complained of suffering vertigo.
Andreas Harsono, Jakarta – In yet another attempt to suppress criticism of the long-running Suharto regime, an Indonesian court here sentenced a legislator who is a close aide to opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri to nine months in jail Monday for defaming the nation's six-term President.