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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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March 20, 1997

Kompas - March 20, 1997

Jakarta – The trial of a PRD activist in the Jakarta state court on Wednesday (19/3), was again coloured by "walk-out" actions by the accused and defense lawyer. However in the trial of Garda Sembiring, one of the members of the panel of judges left the courtroom although the trial had not been closed by the presiding judge Madnjono.

Voice of America - March 20, 1997

Megawati Sukarnoputri: "... if my name is not among the list of candidates standing for election, many people will decide not to participate in these elections."

Business Times - March 20, 1997

S N Vasuki – A senior official of Indonesia's Armed Forces (Abri) has moved swiftly to end a raging internal debate on whether the army should now announce its preferred candidates for the presidential and vice-presidential positions in the March 1998 elections.

Antara News - March 20, 1997

Bandung, West Java – Foreigners will not be allowed to monitor the May 29 general election but will be permitted to observe the democratic process, Army chief of staff, Gen R Hartono said Tuesday.

Antara News - March 20, 1997

Semarang, C Java – A member of the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) has called on the government to set up a special team to fend off issues that tend to "corner" Indonesia.

Sydney Morning Herald - March 20, 1997

Louise Williams, Jakarta – Australia is unlikely to follow the United States in expanding links with opposition groups in Indonesia and believes in the underlying stability of our northern neighbour despite increasing nervousness over recent civil unrest.

Lusa - March 20, 1997

Washington – The US Democrat Congressman, Patrick Kennedy, has proposed to the US Congress the cut of military aid to Indonesia included in the 1997 budget.

The proposal presented on Wednesday would cut an estimated US$26 million-military aid to Indonesia provided annually by Washington, unless Jakarta improves its human rights records.

Kompas - March 20, 1997

Jakarta – Soebadio Sastrosatomo's personal secretary, Buyung Rachmat Buchori Nasution was arrested by the police on Wednesday (19/3). In the arrest warrant Buyung was referred to as a suspect.

New York Times - March 20, 1997

Stephen Labaton and Jeff Gerth, Washington – In late June of 1994, Indonesian businessman James Riady saw President Clinton and some of his aides in five days of White House visits ending on a Saturday.

Associated Press - March 20, 1997

Alexander G. Higgins, Geneva – Nobel Peace laureate Jose Ramos-Horta rejected an opportunity Thursday to appear before the U.N. Human Rights Commission to champion East Timor's cause, accusing Indonesia of meddling.

Digest No. 28 (Indonesian news with comment) - March 20, 1997

Gerry van Klinken – Why is it so difficult to secure justice against the interests of the state? Because 'political' cases are sewn up outside the courthouse. But, if not in the courthouse, exactly where are these decisions made? In a little known but powerful club named Makehjapol, say lawyers widely quoted in the press recently.

Down to Earth Campaign - March 20, 1997

Indonesian Ministers are due to take a decision approving plans for a 70,000 hectare oil palm plantation and transmigration project in the buffer zone of Siberut NationalPark in early 1997. With advice from Indonesian environmental NGOs, Down to Earth has sent the following letter to the Indonesian authorities urging them to withhold permission.

The Australian - March 20, 1997

Patrick Walters, Baucau, East Timor – Pope John Paul II yesterday delivered one of his strongest messages on the East Timor problem, calling for a truly just and internationally accepted solution as the Catholic church moved to consolidate its position in the troubled territory.

Dow Jones News Service - March 20, 1997

Jakarta – President Suharto Thursday told a top U.N. envoy who is here to discuss the conflict in East Timor that Indonesia's annexation of the former Portuguese colony if final and non-negotiable.

In his meeting with envoy Jamshed Marker, Suharto said that 'for the people of Indonesia, for the Indonesian nation, the problem of East Timor is over.'

March 19, 1997

Media Indonesia - March 19, 1997

Jakarta – Around 20 youths calling themselves Komite Pemuda Indonesia (KPI, Indonesian Youth Committee) held an action at the attorney general's office demanding that Sri Bintang Pamungkans and his companions be released. They unfurled banners reading: "Release our friend".

Jawa Pos - March 19, 1997 (Abridged)

Army chief of staff General Hartono said the armed forces will take action against foreign observers of the elections who violate provisions in force in Indonesia. 'They can observe the election, as long as they stick to the rules,' he said.

Sydney Morning Herald - March 19, 1997

In local campaigning for national elections in May, parties are not afraid to nail their colours to the mast, even if they have to paint whole towns to do it, reports Herald Correspondent LOUISE WILLIAMS from Solo, Central Java.

Suara Pembaruan - March 19, 1997

[Plus Aberson trial update.]

Jakarta – Budiman Sudjatmiko along with his defense lawyers carried out a "walk-out" action on Tuesday (18/3) at the Central Jakarta state court.

Angkatan Bersenjata - March 19, 1997

Palembang – Two Hawk-200 aircraft purchased from the UK will arrive in Indonesia on Friday 21 March, completing the supply of 24 Hawk 200/100 contract. The other 22 are now at Ppekanbaru airbase.

Lusa - March 19, 1997

Macau – The vice-rector of the University of East Timor, and other three Timorese, are currently under surveillance and may be detained by the Indonesian authorities, local resistance sources have said.

Kompas Editorial - March 19, 1997

"Then you leave. The court evicts the accused from the court...", said the presiding judge Asmar Ismail in the subversion trial of PRD activists, Thursday (13/3). The accused Suroso left smiling. Seeing this, defense lawyer Denny Kailimang cleared away his things moving to leave the court room.

Waspada - March 19, 1997

Jakarta – Sri Bintang Pamungkas, Julius Usman and Saleh Abdullah, suspects in a subversion case, Tuesday (18/3), have "boycotted" their investigation by the attorney general's office.

Kompas - March 19, 1997

Assistant Secretary of State for basic rights and labour affaires, John Shattuck, visited labour leader Muchtar Pakpahan in hospital on Tuesday 18 March. He wanted to visit Pakpahan who is on trial for subversion to find out for himself Pakpahan's state of health. He spent thirty minutes with the labour leader.

Lusa - March 19, 1997

Jakarta – The Indonesian Army is not "concern" with the US proposal to stop aid to the country because of its human rights violations, military sources in the Indonesian capital Jakarta have said.

Jane's Defense Daily - March 19, 1997

Indonesia has ordered an unspecified number of armored personnel carriers from Ukraine's UKRSPETSE, the country's state-owned arms corporation, according to a top company official.

Andrei Koukin, UKRSPETSE's director general, disclosed the deal yesterday during a press conference at the IDEX '97 defense exhibition in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Agence France Presse - March 19, 1997

Geneva – Indonesia and other countries were applying pressure Wednesday to stop East Timor nobel peace prize winner Ramos Horta addressing the UN Human Rights Commission from a podium, different sources here said.

South China Morning Post - March 19, 1997

Joe Leahy, Dili – East Timor's new Catholic bishop, Monsignor Basilio do Nascimento, is said to be a man who is willing to stand up for the rights of his people.

South China Morning Post - March 19, 1997

Joe Leahy – East Timor's new bishop has issued a firm warning he will not back down on human rights issues and says he supports some measure of autonomy for the troubled province if it does not lead to civil strife.

Monsignor Basilio do Nascimento made the comments a day before he was due to take up his new post as the bishop of East Timor's newly formed diocese of Baucau.

March 18, 1997

Kompas - March 18, 1997

Jakarta – Ali Sadikin, a prominent figure of the Petition of 50, was questioned om Monday (17/3) by the Intelligence Operations Center of the Attorney General's Office for about an hour. Besides Ali Sadikin, information was also requested from former Information Department Secretary General Jusuf Ronodipuro.

East Timor Action Network - March 18, 1997

On Monday, March 18, 4-5 PM, activists from around the country will risk arrest at the Indonesian Embassy on 2020 Mass. Ave. in a demonstration against that nation's occupation of East Timor and its ongoing purchases of U.S. weapons.

Kabar dari PIJAR - March 18, 1997

Jakarta – Ex-governor of Jakarta, retired Let-Gen Ali Sadikin was called in by the Attorney General on Monday (13/3) in relation to the banning of the book "New Era New Leader, Badio [Soebadio] rejects New Order Engineering" by Soebadio Sastrosatomo.

M Joesoef, ex-General Secretary of the Department of Information, was also called in relation to the same case.

Kompas - March 18, 1997

Jakarta – Secretary General of the Home Affairs Department, Suryatna Subrata, affirmed that of late it has been proven that non-objectivity is present in the induction of candidate civil servants in the sphere of the Department of Home Affairs.

Amnesty International - March 18, 1997

All but four of those arrested in relation to disturbances in February in the Viqueque district of East Timor have now been released. Many are reported to have been subjected to torture or ill-treatment while in detention. The four still held are believed to be detained in the police headquarters in the town of Viqueque.

Amnesty International - March 18, 1997

Baltasar Sebastiao H Belo, Jose Maria Geronimo, Joao Budiono C Moraes (Joao Budiono da Costa), Gregorio Sequira Bento, Luis Afonso, Abel Fernandes, Felciano Maria martins, Oracio Viegas, Celestino Soares, Claudino Guterres (alias Alau), Jose do Rosario, Constancio Soares

Providence Journal - March 18, 1997

Elizabeth Rau – Indonesian soldiers captured Constancio Pinto on his 28th birthday and beat him so severely over the next six days that his eyes swelled shut.

At one point, his captors pointed a gun at his head and threatened to fire if he didn't disclose details about the resistance movement on East Timor. "Drop him in the sea!" one soldier shouted.

Asia Times - March 18, 1997

Ong Hock Chuan, Jakarta – The Salim, Sinar Mas and Gajah Tunggal groups have retained the top three positions in the latest ranking of Indonesia's 100 largest conglomerates published by the monthly business magazine Eksekutif.

Wall Street Journal - March 18, 1997

Jakarta, Indonesia – Shares fell sharply Tuesday on continued selling pressure in large-capitalization shares, led by Telekomunikasi Indonesia in moderate dealings.

The Jakarta Stock Exchange Index fell 11.495, or 1.7%, to its lowest level this year at 659.441. Decliners outnumbered gainers 103 to 38 with 43 shares unchanged, and 72 stocks were untraded.

The Guardian - March 18, 1997

Peter Kingston – A London university research centre's controversial plan to train senior Indonesian army senior Indonesian army officers is likely to be shelved this week because of the storm of protest it provoked after it was revealed in The Guardian.

RA - March 18, 1997

The Indonesian military has criticised a move in the United States Congress to cut off an estimated 26-million dollars in military aid because of Indonesia's human rights record, particularly in East Timor.

A military spokesman, Colonel Sutan Iskandar, said Indonesia was NOT impressed by the move, being sponsored by a Republican Party Congressman, Patrick Kennedy.

March 17, 1997

Kompas - March 17, 1997

Jakarta – The Legal Aid Institute (LBH) Jakarta as proxy of Iwan Setiabudi, Friday (14/3) wrote a letter to the Directorate General Protocol and Consulair of the Department of Foreign Affairs (Deplu). The letter reported the act of the RI Consulate General (KJRI) in Berlin which was felt as complicating the extension of said LBH's client.

Lusa - March 17, 1997

Sydney – A pro-East Timor activist group has accused the Australian government of appeasing Indonesia and ignoring problems in the territory as the two countries signed an historic maritime treaty.

ABC International News - March 17, 1997

Indonesia's President Suharto and the Singapore Prime Minister, Goh Chok Tong, will jointly launch a giant marine and industrial complex on the Indonesian island of Karimun later today (Monday).

The Karimun Marine and Industrial Complex, 40 kilometres southwest of Singapore, is the third big industrial centre developed by the Singapore and Indonesian private sectors.

Digest No 27 (Indonesian news with comment) - March 17, 1997

Gerry van Klinken – Once thought of as a shoe-in for vice-president, Habibie's political stature has declined markedly in recent weeks. Both of his political 'legs', namely his technological prowess and his access to the Islamic community via ICMI, have been weakened by recent developments.

Antara News - March 17, 1997

Denpasar – The situation of Lombok Tengah district town of Praya returned to normal on Saturday moon after security officers were able to control a riot by public transport drivers and local residents in protest against the relocation of bus terminal into the West Nusa Tenggara's town, a regional military spokesman said here on Saturday.

Antara News - March 17, 1997

Semarang, Central Java – Foreign parties should be subject to the Indonesian but not international standard in observing the implementation of the upcoming general elections in Indonesia, a human rights activist said.

Agence France Presse - March 17, 1997

Jakarta – Indonesia's two opposition parties have filed official complaints about the May election campaign regulations, saying they are too restrictive.

"We think the regulations do not make the campaign process smooth, but they limit the space for parties like ours," United Development Party (PPP) chairman Ismail Hasan Metareum said.

March 16, 1997

Bali Post - March 16, 1997

Jakarta – Golkar has accepted a government idea to have foreign observers present during the May 29 general elections. However if "errors" are found in the results of the observations, Golkar suggests that the government takes definite steps.

Kompas - March 16, 1997

Praya – Some 1,000 people held a demonstration to demand annulment of the relocation of the city transportation terminal on Saturday (15/3) in Praya, Central Lombok.

Agence France Presse - March 16, 1997

Jakarta – Two ethnic groups which clashed for weeks in West Kalimantan province leaving scores of dead have signed a peace treaty.

"The peace document was signed yesterday in front of the military headquarters in a peace ceremony attended by thousands of people," said Captain Nurhamdani of the military headquarters in Pontianak, in West Kalimantan.

March 15, 1997

Straits Times - March 15, 1997

Jakarta – Soldiers are to be deployed to serve as teachers in understaffed schools in the Mamberamo Hulu district of Indonesia's Irian Jaya province, the Indonesian Observer newspaper reported.