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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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March 29, 1997

Dow Jones News - March 29, 1997

Jakarta – More than 30 people have been arrested since riots broke out in central Java early this week, the official Antara news agency reported Saturday.

About 60 shops were burned or vandalized, a bank office was damaged and two truckloads of garments were set on fire in riots Monday and Tuesday in the town of Pekalongan, a military spokesman told Antara.

Antara - March 29, 1997

Semarang – The Central Java provincial branch of the United Development Party (PPP) is asking the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) to probe alleged human rights violations in Monday's riot in the Central Java town of Pekalongan.

Down To Earth - March 29, 1997

Leading members of the Dayak community have been blamed for the violent ethnic conflict which took place in West Kalimantan earlier this year. The accusation is contained in a three-page report, purporting to investigate the causes of the unrest by a local 'study group'.

March 28, 1997

Sydney Morning Herald - March 28, 1997

Louise Williams, Jakarta – Police fired rubber bullets into a rioting Muslim mob ahead of an appearance by President Soeharto's daughter Mrs Siti "Tutut" Hardiyanti Rukmana at a pro-Government election rally in central Java on Wednesday night.

March 27, 1997

Reuters - March 27, 1997

Jakarta – The United Nations special envoy for East Timor, Jamsheed Marker, said he met jailed rebel leader Xanana Gusmao on Thursday at the end of his fact-finding mission to Indonesia.

Marker told a news conference that he met Gusmao in Jakarta but would not give any more details.

Agence France Presse - March 27, 1997

Jakarta – The UN special envoy on East Timor on Thursday met Jose Xanana Gusmao the jailed leader of the troubled territory's pro-independence movement as part of UN efforts to reactivate a peace process.

Radio Australia - 27 March, 1997

A group of 33 East Timorese who sought refuge in Jakarta's Austrian embassy have left the complex for an undisclosed destination.

An embassy spokeswoman says the youths left of their own will and were picked up by the police shortly after they emerged. The spokeswoman says the Indonesian Foreign Ministry has promised that the group will be treated well.

South China Morning Post - March 27, 1997

Agencies in Jakarta – Rioters attacked the homes of ethnic Chinese around a town in central Java yesterday during a rampage apparently sparked by a popular singer's switch of political allegiance.

Wall Street Journal - March 27, 1997

Jakarta, Indonesia – Indonesia's government Thursday halted development of the Busang gold deposit, once touted as the world's richest, one day after Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. said gold levels at the site apparently were "insignificant."

The Independent - March 27, 1997

[Sue Lloyd-Roberts, BBC Special Correspondent, exposes the trade that gives the Indonesian regime the muscle to clamp down on dissent.]

Sydney Morning Herald - March 27, 1997

Louise Williams, Jakarta – The Indonesian Government has cancelled its invitation to foreign observers to monitor the May national elections, saying Indonesia will not be judged by foreign concepts of democracy.

Far Eastern Economic Review - March 27, 1997

John McBeth, Jakarta – Just back from Germany in early February, Science and Technology Minister B.J. Habibie was summoned to a five-hour meeting with President Suharto. As the minister took notes in a book he habitually uses for presidential tete-a-tetes, Suharto railed against Muslim leader Amien Rais, whom he accused of making "subversive" statements.

ASIET News - March 27, 1997

The New Order military regime apparently has still not ended its hunt for PRD cadre. Miranti, a Surabaya PRD cadre was kidnaped on 18 March by agents in civilian clothes, after she attended a session of the trial of Dita Sari and Coen Hussein Pontoh. Other PRD cadre saw Miranti being forced into a green coloured car about 300 metres from the court

South China Morning Post - March 27, 1997

Agencies in Jakarta – Police on Bali have detained four members of the Indonesian Democracy Party (PDI) who were planning to hold a political "long march" between Bali and Jakarta, a report said.

The police yesterday questioned the four, including the plan's initiator, Roch Basuki Mangunprojo, in Badung, Bali, according to the daily Suara Pembaruan.

March 26, 1997

ABC News - March 26, 1997

A judge in Britain has blocked attempts to stop the government from selling military equipment to Indonesia. Judge John Laws says the campaign by three lobby groups was honourable, but purely political. The British government has given export permits for water cannon and armoured vehicles to Indonesia.

Agence France Presse - March 26, 1997

Jakarta – Forty-five people remained in detention in the East Timor capital on Monday, a day after a violent demonstration outside the hotel where a United Nations special envoy is staying for a key visit.

Residents said Dili appeared calm but the area around the downtown hotel where UN envoy Jamsheed Marker was staying remained heavily guarded by police.

Lusa - March 26, 1997

Washington – The US has decided to postpone the sale of nine F-16 jet fighters to Indonesia because of human rights violations in the Southeast Asian country, the White House has announced.

Business Indonesia - March 26, 1997

Jakarta – The Indonesian Democracy Defense Team (Tim Pembela Demokrasi Indnesia, TPDI) has confirmed that four PDI pro-Megawati Sukarnoputri figures have been called by the police in relation with the PDI anniversary and the July 27, 1996 riots.

ABC Radio Australia - March 26, 1997

The United Nations special envoy on East Timor has held talks in Jakarta with East Timorese who had demanded the meeting after earlier forcing their way into the Austrian embassy.

Amnesty International - March 26, 1997

Twenty-four of those arrested in connection with a demonstration at the Mahkota Hotel in Dili on 23 March 1997 remain in custody and are now facing charges for publicly expressing hatred against the government. The remaining 21 arrested on 23 March appear to have been released.

Jakarta Post - March 26, 1997

Semarang – Military authorities in this Central Java city are planning to deploy at least 20 pythons to safeguard the May general election and the March 1998 presidential election.

South China Morning Post - March 26, 1997

Agencies in Jakarta – A group of East Timorese youths gained a meeting with a UN special envoy yesterday after breaking into the Austrian Embassy in Jakarta and demonstrating for self-determination in their homeland.

Reuters - March 26, 1997

Jakarta – The Indonesian military said on Wednesday 33 East Timorese youths now inside the Austrian embassy in Jakarta would be questioned once they left the mission, the official Antara news agency reported.

The agency quoted armed forces spokesman Brigadier-General Slamet Supriadi as saying the actions of the youths, who climbed over the embassy's fence, were improper.

Kompas - March 26, 1997

Jakarta – The detention of Sri Bintang Pamungkas (General Chairman of the Indonesian Democratic Union Party (PUDI), Julius Usman (Chairman), and Saleh Abdullah (Secretary General), which has already lasted 20 days, as of Tuesday (25/3) has been extended with 20 days, to mid April next.

Kompas - March 26, 1997 (slightly abridged)

The prosecutor in the trial of Dita Indah Sari, chair of the Indonesian Workers Centre of Struggle PPBI, and Coen Pontoh, coordinator of the education and propaganda department of the National Peasants Union, has asked the court to pass down a sentence of eight years against Dita Sari and six years against Coen Pontoh.

Kompas - March 26, 1997 (Slightly abridged)

Speaking to a huge crowd of about five thousand people, Megawati Sukarnoputri (the ousted leader of the PDI who has been excluded from contesting the elections on 29 May) said that the Executive Council of the PDI under her leadership would shortly be issuing an instruction on how to act in the run-up to the forthcoming general election.

March 25, 1997

Suara Karya - March 25, 1997

From 48 anti integration people who attend the demonstration at Mahkota Timur Hotel, this Sunday (23/3), 24 of them were arrested and officially became suspects after being interrogate by the security forces. 10 others were immediately release, and 14 became witnesses. There are possibility that this 14 people will become suspects too, said Dili Chief of Police Lt. Col.

Suara Merdeka - March 25, 1997

Surabaya – V/Brawijaya Commander Maj-Gen Imam Utomo has said that his party [the army] will forbid a PDI long-march which will who's route will go through Java-Bali.

"For the moment, political activities, approaching the 1997 general elections have not been given permission, or have an relation with the public interest", he said yesterday.

ASIET News - March 25, 1997

ASIET has received information from the Jakarta based Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) that seven East Timorese youth have been shot dead, four severely injured and 38 with lesser wounds at a peaceful gathering taking place inside the Mahkota Hotel in Dili.

Reuters - March 25, 1997

Jakarta – Thirty-three East Timorese entered the Austrian embassy compound in Jakarta on Tuesday, demanding a meeting with visiting U.N. special envoy for East Timor, Jamsheed Marker.

Straits Times - March 25, 1997

Jakarta – The United States should set aside human-rights concerns and go ahead with the delayed sale of F-16 warplanes to Indonesia, former Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell was quoted as saying yesterday.

ABC News - March 25, 1997

Police in East Timor say they have charged 24 people with showing hatred towards the Indonesian government.

Reuters - March 25, 1997

Geneva – East Timor independence leader Jose Ramos Horta, quoting Catholic Church sources on the troubled island, said on Tuesday that Indonesian troops had seriously wounded 18 youths at a weekend demonstration.

March 24, 1997

Asiaweek - March 24, 1997

Jim Erickson, with bureau reporting – Nuclear generating plants spew no pollutants into the atmosphere, they provide far more energy per unit of fuel than any other source, and spent fuel can be reused. But people fear the genie held captive beneath the cooling towers.

Info Pembebasan Chronology - March 24-26, 1997

[The original chronology covered the dates March 24-26 1997 and it was assumed that the writer meant February not March. Some details in the original text were also unclear - JB]

Washington Post - March 24, 1997

Susan Schmidt, Washington – Three months after he left his Justice Department job in disgrace in 1994, Webster Hubbell scheduled a 7 a.m. breakfast meeting in Washington with an old friend just in from Indonesia, James Riady.

Dow Jones News - March 24, 1997

Dili – About 50 East Timorese staged a non-violent protest Monday against Indonesian rule of their territory, a day after hundreds of demonstrators clashed with police during a visit by a U.N. investigator.

There were no arrests at the protest, in a marketplace, which dispersed after about 30 minutes, said the local police chief, Col. Jusuf Muharam.

South China Morning Post - March 24, 1997

Jenny Grant, Jakarta – President Suharto has defended Indonesia's electoral process, insisting it is not a device to re-elect his Government.

"The election is not a ploy by the Government to maintain the status quo. It's a forum for the people to exercise their basic rights," he told a weekend gathering of the Indonesian Ulemas Council, the nation's top Muslim body.

Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) - March 24, 1997

Background

Asia Times - March 24, 1997

Ong Hock Chuan, Jakarta – With a ruling party victory a foregone conclusion in Indonesia's May 29 general election and President Suharto almost certain to stand for another term, speculation in Jakarta has focused on who will be the next vice-president and likely presidential successor.

Kompas - March 24, 1997

Jakarta – The Minister of Justice, Oetojo Oesman, said that they [the ministry] always monitors the actions of all judges, including those trying the Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) activist in the Central and South Jakarta, and Surabaya state courts.

AJI/LSSP - March 24, 1997

[Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) and the Institute for the Study of the Press and Development (LSPP).]

On 20 March 1997 AJI will publish its second annual report, on this occasion in conjunction with the Institute for the Study of the Press and Development (LSPP). This summarizes its main findings.

TAPOL - March 24, 1997

[Chronology of Mahkota Hotel incident, Dili 23 March 1997. Received from Jakarta on 23 March.]

Seven East Timorese youth are thought to have died, seven were seriously wounded and 38 others wounded less seriously after failing to meet the UN Secretary-general's special representative for East Timor, Jamsheed Marker at the Mahkota Hotel in Dili.

Antara News - March 24, 1997

Dili, E Timor – The UN Secretary General's special envoy for East Timor, Jamsheed Marker, said he will return to the province to gather more information.

"I am really impressed by the beauty of East Timor that I want to return to see the developments that will take place," Marker said before departing from the Comoro airport here Monday.

Antara News - March 24, 1997

Dili, E Timor – The visiting UN Secretary General's Envoy on East Timor, Jamsheed Marker, said here Saturday he was satisfied with the explanations by Local Military Commander Col. Mahidin Simbolon on the role of the Indonesian Armed Forces in East Timor.

Amnesty International - March 24, 1997

Amnesty International is concerned for the safety of at least 48 East Timorese currently in detention following a demonstration in Dili on 23 March.

ABC Radio Australia - March 24, 1997

East Timorese youths have held a second demonstration in Dili over their failure to meet a special United Nations envoy.

Police say the demonstration at Becora market in East Dili was small and non-violent and there were no arrests.

March 23, 1997

Associated Press - March 23, 1997

Dili, Indonesia – Indonesian security forces clashed Sunday with East Timorese activists trying to see a U.N. envoy, killing two people and injuring 38, a security official said.

Dow Jones News - March 23, 1997

Dili, Indonesia – Indonesian security forces clashed Sunday with East Timorese activists trying to see a U.N. envoy, killing two people and injuring 38, a security official said.

New York Times - March 23, 1997

Seth Mydans, Jakarta – He owns forests, paper and plywood mills, airlines and banks, and last month he brokered a deal that gave him a major share in what may be the world's largest gold deposit.

But the biggest asset of Mohamad (Bob) Hasan is worth more than gold. As he said recently, "I've been friends with the president for more than 40 years."