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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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August 27, 1997

Reuters - August 27, 1997

Jakarta – An Indonesian court has been asked to sentence 14 East Timorese to one year in jail for taking part in an anti-Indonesia protest during a visit by a U.N. envoy in March, the official Antara news agency reported on Wednesday.

August 25, 1997

Kompas - August 25, 1997 (posted by Tapol, summary only)

The subversion trial of SBSI chairperson Muchtar Pakpahan is scheduled to resume on Thursday, 28 August. The trial has been adjourned for five months because the defendant fell ill.

Reuters - August 25, 1997

Jakarta – Indonesia dismissed on Monday a proposal from an East Timor rebel leader for the former Portuguese colony to have a similar relationship with Jakarta as the United States shares with Puerto Rico.

August 24, 1997

Asiaweek - August 24, 1997

Catherine Shepherd and Keith Loveard, Jakarta – In Indonesia these days, many people are holding their breath in more ways than one. For two months now, sections of the country have been enveloped in a dark gray haze.

Asiaweek - August 24, 1997

Peter Morgan and Keith Loveard, Jakarta – Muhammad Syafruddin was beaten to death with an iron bar outside his house in Jogjakarta on August 13, 1996. Police say he was killed by his lover's jealous husband.

August 23, 1997

Sydney Morning Herald - August 23, 1997

Louise Williams, Jakarta – President Soeharto will not approve the release of the jailed East Timorese guerilla leader, Xanana Gusmao, despite the recent plea by the South African leader, Mr Nelson Mandela.

Tapol - August 23, 1997

[On Indonesia's Independence Day, Sunday 17 August 1997, TEMPO Interaktif met Xanana Gusmao at Cipinang Prison in Jakarta. He is known to his friends as 'Mas Gus', even though he is not from Java. He looks young for his 51 years even though he has now a few grey hairs. 'I keep fit here,' he said.

Sydney Morning Herald - August 23, 1997

Louise Williams, Jakarta – From the air, the great rainforests of Borneo have disappeared under billowing clouds of smoke from hundreds of forest fires raging out of control, forcing planes to abandon their attempts to land.

August 22, 1997

Wall Street Journal - August 22, 1997

Jakarta – One villager was killed and three soldiers were injured when tribesmen used bows and arrows to attack an Indonesian army patrol near the Freeport copper mine in New Guinea on Friday, a military source said.

August 21, 1997

Straits Times - August 21, 1997

Jakarta – Re-evaluated plans for Indonesia's nuclear power plant programme will be unveiled next March after the National Atomic Energy Agency (Batan) completes a study on the country's energy supply and demand needs, The Indonesian Observer reported yesterday.

Voice of America - August 21, 1997

Jenny Grant, Jakarta – In his state of the nation address last weekend, president suharto said the government must postpone some projects because of the devaluation of the national currency, the rupiah.

Far Eastern Economic Review - August 21, 1997

John McBeth, Jakarta – Before it began buying American in the 1970s, the Indonesian air force was comprised entirely of top-of-the-line Soviet-built fighters, bombers and helicopters. They were as much a legacy of the Sukarno years as the muscle-bound Lenin-style statuary found around Jakarta.

August 20, 1997

South China Morning Post - August 20, 1997

Jenny Grant, Jakarta – The National Commission on Human Rights intervened yesterday on behalf of 14 students detained for holding a protest on Indonesia's national day.

August 19, 1997

Republika - August 19, 1997 (Summarised posting by Tapol)

Four lawyers organisation, the legal aid institute, YLBHI, the Association of Indonesian Advocates AAI, the Indonesia Bar Association (Ikadin) and the Association of Legal Advisers (IPHI) have called on the leadership of Parliament to postpone discussion of the draft Police Bill.

August 17, 1997

Peoples Democratic Party - August 17, 1997

[The following is a translation of a statement sent to ASIET by the underground Peoples Democratic Party (PRD)]

George J. Aditjondro - August 17, 1997

[The following is a slightly abridged letter from George J. Aditjondro to the Norway Rainforest Foundation in reponse to a an inquiry about Indonesian timber tycoon Mohammad ("Bob") Hasan's business connections in Norway - JB]

August 16, 1997

Reuters - August 16, 1997

Jakarta – Indonesian Justice Minister Utoyo Usman said on Saturday the government had given a three-month reduction to the jail term being served by East Timorese rebel leader Jose "Xanana" Gusmao, the Antara news agency reported.

Jakarta Post - August 16, 1997

Jakarta – Observers criticized as inappropriate and groundless a motion to reintroduce a People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) decree that would give a president extra power.

SiaR - August 16, 1997 (posted by Tapol)

Three leading Jakarta dailies, Republika, Suara Pembaruan and Merdeka, have been warned by Information Minister, retired General Hartono. The warnings were delivered during a meeting with editors-in-chief and the financial authorities.

August 15, 1997

SiaR - August 15 1997

Xanana Gusmao, the commander of the pro-independence forces, FALINTIL, who is currently serving a twenty-year prison sentence, has declared that he would prefer to remain in prison rather than be deported to any foreign country, including Portugal or Australia.

August 14, 1997

Far Eastern Economic Review - August 14, 1997

John McBeth, Jakarta – The long-awaited generational change in the Indonesian armed forces is now taking shape. But if the new wave of 1970s military-academy graduates have different views of the world than their more insular elders, that doesn't mean there will be any overnight transformation in style or substance.

August 13, 1997

Pacific Asia Resource Center - August 13, 1997

Saeki Natsuko – Nike is one of the biggest sports goods manufactures in the world. Ohmae Kenichi, a well-known Japanese commentator who is an advisor to the company, described the secret of its success in production and sales activities as a marvelous combination between "core skill" and "out-sourcing".

Reuters - August 13, 1997

Jakarta – Indonesia's Supreme court has said it will not review the conviction of independent labour leader Muchtar Pakpahan jailed on charges that he incited workers to strike, the Jakarta Post newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Reuters - August 13, 1997

Michael Perry, Sydney – South African President Nelson Mandela's mediation in East Timor could provide the "face-saving" device for Indonesian President Suharto to end the 22-year conflict, 1996 Nobel Peace Prize winner Jose Ramos Horta said on Wednesday.

August 12, 1997

Asiaweek - August 12, 1997

Keith Loveard, Jakarta – Cafe Galeri in Jakarta's upmarket suburb of Menteng is a trendy testament to the success of Indonesia's economy. On its walls hang abstract oil paintings that sell for $4,000 each.

August 9, 1997

Human Rights Solidarity Action Committee - August 9, 1997

[The following is an abridged translation of a statement sent to ASIET by the underground Peoples Democratic Party]

August 8, 1997

Straits Times - August 8, 1997

Derwin Pereira, Jakarta – Indonesia's Information Minister, Mr Raden Hartono, has denied any political motives in joining the influential Islamic group, the Association of Indonesian Muslim Intellectuals (ICMI), amid speculation that he will use it as a platform for his political ambitions.

Human Rights Solidarity Action Committee - August 8, 1997

[The following is a slightly abridged translation of a chronology sent to ASIET by the underground Peoples Democratic Party]

August 7, 1997

Agence France Presse - August 7, 1997

Jakarta – Indonesia's independent trade union leader filed a judicial review to the Supreme Court, asking the body to review his conviction over the April 1994 Medan riots.

Appearing in court for the first time since his hospitalisation in March, Pakpahan told the East Jakarta court they had new evidence to prove that he did not incite the riots.

Agence France Presse - August 7, 1997

Jakarta – Jailed East Timorese rebel leader Xanana Gusmao said his release, as called for by South African President Nelson Mandela, was unimportant compared to the urgency for a settlement in East Timor, it was reported Thursday.

Straits Times - August 7, 1997

Jakarta – Indonesian police have suggested that local journalists receive special training and shooting lessons to help them with the accuracy of their reporting, the official Antara news agency reported yesterday.

South China Morning Post - August 7, 1997

Jenny Grant, Jakarta – A war between police and criminals is escalating in Jakarta following the killing of a mobile-brigade policeman last week.

Police and the military have launched a joint hunt for the killer of 27-year-old First Sergeant Winoto.

Wall Street Journal - August 7, 1997

Richard Borsuk, Mangakajang – Plywood baron Mohamad "Bob" Hasan, longtime confidant of President Suharto, has finally fulfilled his dream of building a huge, high-tech pulp mill in the jungle. Making it profitable, however, may take many years.

August 6, 1997

Lusa - August 6, 1997

Lisbon – Portugal has urged South Africa to resist pressure from Indonesia after Pretoria expelled the Portuguese ambassador Vasco Valente over the leaking of a misdirected note from President Nelson Mandela to his Indonesian counterpart, General Suharto.

Jakarta Post - August 6, 1997

Jakarta – The National Commission for Human Rights promised yesterday to urge the government to form an independent medical team to seek a third opinion on labor leader Muchtar Pakpahan's health.

International Herald Tribune - August 6, 1997

Michael Richardson, Singapore – Defying its human rights critics in the United States, Indonesia said Tuesday that it would buy Russian fighters and helicopters after canceling a deal for American-made F-16s because of congressional attacks on its human rights record.

The Jakarta Post - August 6, 1997

Dili – Col. Suryo Prabowo, former secretary to the chief of general affairs of the Armed Forces, was installed yesterday as deputy chief of Wira Dharma Command.

Col. Suryo, who had served in East Timor as the command's chief of staff, replaced Col. Soekotjo HS, who was promoted to chief of Wira Bhakti Command, overseeing West Nusa Tenggara.

The Star - August 6, 1997

Peter Fabricius – South Africa's dramatic expulsion of Portugal's ambassador at the weekend for allegedly holding and leaking to the press a misdirected letter from President Mandela to Indonesian President Suharto has created great controversy in diplomatic circles and raised a host of unanswered questions.

Agence France Presse - August 6, 1997

Manila – Indonesian opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri wants to visit the Philippines but is uncertain if the government of President Fidel Ramos will allow her in, a local newspaper reported here Wednesday.

August 5, 1997

Voice of America - August 5, 1997

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.

Reuters - 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.

Reuters - August 5, 1997 (abridged)

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.

Antara - August 5, 1997

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).

Kompas - August 5, 1997

A delegation of US senators led by Craig Thomas (Dem. Wyoming) consisting of eleven people met members of the National Human Rights Commission and reached agreement to keep in close contact, so as to reach a common understanding on human rights and democracy.

Agence France Presse - August 5, 1997

Bhimanto Suwastoyo, Jakarta – Indonesia Tuesday brushed aside US criticism of its human rights record and said it would buy Russian fighter jets after cancelling an order for American aircraft.

Reuters - August 5, 1997 (abridged)

Cape Town – South Africa, trying to unravel twin diplomatic blunders in its East Timor peace initiative, on Tuesday acknowledged a "miscommunication" over an announced visit by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

August 4, 1997

Lusa - August 4, 1997

Pretoria – The South African President, Nelson Mandela, has said he invited East Timorese leaders to visit the African country in September.

Reuters - August 4, 1997

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.

Reuters - 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.

August 3, 1997

Straits Times - 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.