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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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April 14, 1997

Tapol - April 14, 1997

London – The London newspaper, Sunday Business, yesterday (April 13th) broached the heretical possibility that US mining giant Freeport McMoran may be deliberately under-estimating the grade of the Busang gold deposit in Indonesian Kalimantan.

April 13, 1997

Radio Australia - April 13, 1997

The Australian Greens party is calling on people to join an organisation which is offering to hide asylum seekers from East Timor if the Federal Government tries to deport them.

The Greens say the Government will send thousands of asylum seekers back if it wins a case currently before the Federal Court.

Asiaweek - April 13, 1997

Susan Berfield and Keith Loveard, Jakarta – Siti Hardyanti Rukmana is a woman of considerable means. She is Indonesia's foremost businesswoman – her diversified conglomerate PT Citra Lamtoro Gung Persada is worth an estimated $1 billion. She is a top official in the ruling party Golkar and, of course, the eldest of President Suharto's six children.

Straits Times - April 13, 1997

Jakarta – Indonesian President Suharto yesterday warned the country to guard against rumours which could spark unrest following a wave of mass violence ahead of general election here.

His warning came after reports that more than a dozen pro-Golkar Muslim preachers were in hiding after riots in Central Java.

April 12, 1997

South China Morning Post - April 12, 1997

Jenny Grant, Jakarta – Students at one of the most prestigious state-run universities are expected to join the swelling ranks of protest voters at the May 29 election, according to a recent poll.

Bali Post - 12 April, 1997

Gianyar – Scores of pro-Megawati PDI supporters in Gianyar besieged the pro-Soerjadi Secretariat during a protest on Friday (11/4). Wearing religious attire they drove around the offices on motorbikes and protested, refusing to accept the existence of [Soerjadi's] version of the congress.

April 11, 1997

Republika - April 11, 1997

[As reported in an earlier posting, the students were calling for a boycott of the elections. This is not mentioned in the Republika report. TAPOL]

Kompas - 11 April, 1997

Palembang – The 24 anniversary held on the grounds of the headquarters of the South Sumatra PDI offices on Wednesday (9/4), became a physical confrontation between pro-Megawati and pro-Soerjadi cadre.

South China Morning Post - April 11, 1997

Agencies in Dili – Independence leader Jose Ramos Horta said he had evidence troops killed four students who clashed with police in the East Timor capital of Dili last month as they tried to get a petition to a UN special envoy.

The Nation, Bangkok - April 11, 1997

Jakarta – When thousands of people gathered in Dili on Christmas eve last year to welcome home East Timor Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo from Oslo, where he had been awarded the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize, posters of Xanana Gusmao fluttered from all sections of the crowd.

Lusa - April 11, 1997

Geneva – 378 people were reported missed from November 1995 to the same month last year in East Timor, according to a report by the United Nations (UN) chief, Kofi Annan.

Kompas - April 11, 1997

Jakarta – Three of the accused in Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) subversion case, Budiman Sudjatmiko, Garda Sembiring and Ignatius Pranowo, who are being tried separately, carried out a walk out, before being question by the Central Jakarta State Court on Thursday (10/4).

April 10, 1997

Peoples Democratic Party - April 10, 1997

On April 7 members of the Struggle Alliance for Democracy and Human Rights (APDHAM) entered the courtroom where Dita Sari and Coen Pontoh were being tried. It was the day on which they would read out their defence speeches. At 10.00am Dita and Coen arrived at the court where Dita handed out flowers to the judge, prosecutor and those in the gallery.

Various - April 10, 1997

According to reports today from AFP (in Jakarta) and Reuter (in Dili), the resistance has killed six and wounded five others in two ambushes in East Timor. The exiled CNRM confirmed the attacks and said the death toll was probably higher, but sources in the Indonesian-occupied territory doubted whether the resistance was involved.

Republika - April 10, 1997

Parts of Central Java appear to be turning into a battleground between GOLKAR and the PPP. These clashes, now being fought out in several towns in the north of the province which are all regarded as PPP strongholds, are a portent of something far more damaging than the 'war of colours' that erupted between PPP supporters and local officials/GOLKAR in Solo and spread elsewhere.]

April 9, 1997

Associated Press - April 9, 1997

Dili – Secessionist rebels ambushed a vehicle in East Timor, killing four members of a village defense force and two others in the deadliest rebel attack in more than a year, the military said Wednesday.

Asiaweek - April 9, 1997

Keith Loveard – When armed men robbed a bank in the northern town of Lhokseumawe earlier this year, Indonesia's top brass noticed. Not because the men escaped with $172,000. Nor because they killed two people and wounded three military police. Rather, the generals suspected this was no ordinary heist but the work of Acehnese separatists.

South China Morning Post - April 9, 1997

Jenny Grant and Agencies in Jakarta – Troops were called out in the town of Pekalongan yesterday as political violence flared again.

"Armed soldiers are stationed in the town. Many shops are closed today because the owners are afraid of fresh violence," said one resident.

South China Morning Post - April 9, 1997

An ethnic Chinese man has been jailed for 3.5 years for triggering a race riot in West Java. Tjio Kim Tjang, 55, was convicted of spreading hatred against a certain group in Rengasdengklok by submitting them to humiliating acts.

Straits Times - April 9, 1997

Susan Sim, Semarang – Troops were called out to guard a housing estate in the coastal city of Pekalongan yesterday following fresh clashes between supporters of rival political parties.

SiaR - April 9, 1997

Jakarta – President Soeharto's health has been an issue in the foreign media all week. It was reported that Suharto (77) suffered a mild stroke on April 1. This report was denied by Foreign Minister Ali Alatas as nonsense.

April 8, 1997

Tapol - April 8, 1997

According to reports in Monday's Republika and Media Indonesia, there were more disturbances in the northern Central Java city of Pekalangan. Around midnight Sunday, 6 April thousands of people ran riot on the streets, destroying motorbikes and vehicles. A tomato puree warehouse was destroyed as well as a batik dyes shop.

Bali Post - April 8, 1997

Surabaya – The Jatim Indonesian Legal and Justice Defence Team (TPHKI) handling the defence of the subversion case against two Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) members Dita Indah Sari and Coen Husein Pontoh have asked that the judge free the two accused.

Kompas - April 8, 1997 (Posted by Tapol)

Andi Syahpputra, 31 years old, has been sentenced by a Jakarta court to thirty months in prison for printing the journal, Suara Independen, publication of the independent journalists' organisation, AJI.

Republika - April 8, 1997

Surabaya – A strike by around 2,000 workers from PT Ria Star Indonesia (RSI) Surabaya [East Java] followed a confrontation with security forces. As a result, 11 people suffered serious wounds to the head, stomach and chest, legs and arms because they were beaten by security personnel.

Kompas - April 8, 1997

Surabaya – A sticker calling for the failure of the 1997 general election has been distributed in Surabaya. Measuring 10x20 centimeters it was distributed in schools and stuck the walls of houses and offices.

Sydney Morning Herald - April 8, 1997

Louise Williams, Jakarta – The central Javanese town of Pekalongan was under military control yesterday after further political riots over the weekend which left at least five people injured and more than 60 shops and homes damaged or destroyed.

April 7, 1997

Tapol - April 7, 1997

34 people accused of being involved in the demonstration in Dili during the visit last month of Jamsheed Marker, the UN special envoy, are to go on trial very soon, according to a report in today's Kompas 7/IV., quoting Dili police chief, Lr ColBeno Kalipong. They will be charged with physical assault against members of the security forces.

Ruters - April 7, 1997

Jakarta – Indonesia said on Monday that Nobel Peace laureate Jose Ramos Horta's claim that he had fresh evidence of widespread torture in East Timor was "a lot of nonsense."

Reuters - April 7, 1997

Geneva – The camera zooms in to show a man's blood-covered wrist, nailed to his prison plank. Men in khakis torture inmates with sticks, chair legs, electric shocks and metal chains. A corpse wrapped in rags lies in a corner.

Indonesian Observer - April 7 1997

Indonesian Ambassador-at-large, Lopes Da cruz, has refuted foreign allegations that a special program has been developed to spread Islam in the predominantly Roman Catholic province of East Timor. "That is untrue. Catholicism is well developed in that area [East Timor]," he said in Canada on Saturday.

April 6, 1997

Guardian Weekly - April 6, 1997

When Jose Ramos Horta won the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with his fellow East Tmorese, Monsignor Carlos Felipe Ximenes Belo, there were hopes he might be able to dispel the dark cloud of silence that has engulfed the genocide of his people.

ASIET - April 6, 1997

ASIET has received the following message (abridged translation) from the East Timorese underground in Java.

Statement begins: Suharto regime murders more Maubere people

April 5, 1997

Sydney Morning Herald - April 5, 1997

Paul Mcgeough and agencies – Dozens of young East Timorese detained since the military broke up a peaceful demonstration in Dili two weeks ago are still in prison, some showing clear signs of being beaten by their captors, the Most Rev Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo says.

ASIET - April 5, 1997

ASIET has received the following message (abridged translation) from the East Timorese underground in Java

Statement begins: Suharto regime murders more Maubere people

Sydney Morning Herald - April 5, 1997

The Government seems to be widening its crackdown on political dissent but students argue that this tactic will simply cripple the next generation of leaders, writes LOUISE WILLIAMS from Yogyakarta, central Java.

April 4, 1997

Kompas Online - April 4, 1997

Julisu Usman and Saleh Abdullah, activists from PUDI, were released on 3 April after being held by the Attorney-General for 29 days. This was confirmed by their lawyer, Irianto Subiakto of the LBH, who said they had been released on the surety of their families.

South China Morning Post - April 4, 1997

Agence France Presse in Jakarta - Foreign Minister Ali Alatas yesterday dismissed rumours that President Suharto had suffered a stroke.

"News like that is common; everything was clearly made up, it was engineered," he said after meeting Mr Suharto at the presidential office.

Community Aid Abroad - April 4, 1997

New report reveals "worst conditions yet" in Nike contractor's factory.

Sydney Morning Herald - April 4, 1997

Gordon Feeney, Jakarta – A new Australian study has accused glamour sports shoe maker Nike of callous exploitation of workers, including children as young as 11.

The study, by Perth academic Mr Peter Hancock, also alleges that in one case in early 1996 a 23-year old woman collapsed from exhaustion in a factory licensed by Nike to make its products.

Kompas - April 4, 1997

Jakarta – Foreign Minister Ali Alatas said today that the whole debate around President Suharto's health, which has been given ample coverage in the foreign press, is the result of a conspiracy engineered by speculators.

April 3, 1997

Bali Post - April 3, 1997

Denpasar – The pro-Soerjadi Indonesian Democratic Party Secretariat in Denpasar, Wednesday (2/4) yesterday at around 1.30pm, was occupied by around 250 pro-Megawati supporters.

The PDI masses held the action after being disappointed by the decision of the Denpasar state court against them [pro-Megawati supporters] and in favor of the pro-Soerjadi congress in Medan.

South China Morning Post - April 3, 1997

Jenny Grant, Jakarta – Indonesia's leader for 30 years, President Suharto, has sounded a note of caution about his age, while his daughter shapes up as a strong candidate for vice-president.

"Please take my age into account because I will be 77 next year," Mr Suharto told a group of youth activists.

Straits Times - April 3, 1997

Jakarta – Indonesia banned political parties contesting the May 29 general election from obtaining foreign aid, the Media Indonesia newspaper reported yesterday. "It is against the law for the parties to ask for foreign funds even though they feel that the election funding is insufficient," it quoted Mr H. S. A. Yusacc, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, as saying on Tuesday.

Australian Financial Review - April 3, 1997

Ian Howarth – BHP Petroleum was announced yesterday as the operator of a new multibillion-dollar oil and gas development in the Timor Sea, based on the rich Bayu-Undan discovery.

The $1 billion first stage of the project was confirmed yesterday, and the final details of an associated proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) project will be settled within weeks.

Kompas - April 3, 1997 (Abridged)

Yogya korem commander Col Gaffar has said that the 24 students arrested while demonstrating on the Gadjah Mada University campus are now under investigation by the Yogya police. Those proven to be involved will be tried, he said. He said they are all UGM students; seven are women. Three who appear to have been leading the action are named as Vic, Kur and Tri.

Amnesty International - April 3, 1997

24 students A protest against the arrest of 24 students in Yogyakarta, Central Java on 1 April has resulted in eight further arrests and beatings of protestors in the city.

April 2, 1997

Business Times - April 2, 1997

SN Vasuki – As Indonesia's ruling establishment braces itself for crucial parliamentary elections on May 29, analysts are puzzled by the government's plan to hold a seminar on the dramatic events that led to the exit of President Sukarno in 1966.

EBRI - April 2, 1997

A score of youths grouped in the Indonesian Youth Committee last week staged a demonstration in front of the Attorney General Office in Jakarta, demanding the release of Sri Bintang Pamungkas and his friends who are in the prosecution custody on charges of subversion.

Reuters - April 2, 1997

Jakarta – The ghost of Indonesia's founding president Sukarno still haunts his successor, Suharto, who is intent on stressing the legitimacy of his rise to power 30 years ago, observers say.