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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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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".

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.

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.

March 18, 1997

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

March 17, 1997

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

March 15, 1997

Kompas - March 15, 1997

Jakarta, Sutoyo NK – The Director General of Socio Politics of the Department of Home Affairs Sutoyo NK justified government's intention to invite foreign observers from a number of neighbouring countries to witness the General Elections process in Indonesia. But their presence was not for investigating.

Straits Times - March 15, 1997

Jakarta – The Solo branch of the United Development Party (PPP) is to sue the Central Java governor for imposing the yellow livery of the ruling Golkar in public places.

President Suharto has said, meanwhile, that the authorities would act against people who encouraged others not to vote in the May 29 general election, the official Antara news agency reported.

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.

Lusa - March 15, 1997

Geneva – Human rights watchdog Amnesty International (AI) has said that the human rights situation in East Timor is "extremely serious".

New York Times - March 15, 1997

[Editorial page (unsigned editorials from the Times), full text.]

Kompas - March 15, 1997

Jakarta – The suspect in the subversion case Sri Bintang Pamungkas asked his legal advisors team to prepare a suit against the Chairman of the Group of Functionaries Fraction (F-KP) of the House of Representatives (DPR) Moestahid Astari.

South China Morning Post - March 15, 1997

Joe Leahy, Jakarta – President Suharto has renewed threats to punish anyone advocating a general election boycott in May, amid growing government fears a record number of voters will abstain.

Straits Times - March 15, 1997

Jakarta – Recent religious and ethnic riots in Indonesia, political uncertainty and the country's questionable economic regulations will not have a great impact on US business interests here, representatives of a 100-strong delegation of US business figures said here.

ABC International News - March 15, 1997

Hundreds of people have rioted in a town on the eastern Indonesian island of Lombok, over the building of a new transport terminal.

Police said the riot in the town of Praya resulted in damage to the new terminal, located outside the town, and to shops built at the site of the old terminal. No casualties or arrests were reported.

March 14, 1997

Asia Week - March 14, 1997

Keith Loveard, Jakarta – President Suharto is not a man to be crossed, or to be taken for granted. Those who do so invariably put their careers at risk, as two prominent Indonesians recently learned the hard way.

Kompas - March 14, 1997

Jakarta – Because the police were not informed, a one-day seminar with the theme of Direct, general, free, secret, honest and fair general elections, failed to materialize. The organizing committee itself disbanded the program, which was taking place in the PMKRI Students Building on Thursday (13/3), at the request of the Central Jakarta Metro Police.

March 13, 1997

Reuters - March 13, 1997

Jakarta – President Suharto said there was no room for political dissent in Indonesia and that critics of his government did not understand the country's political system, The Jakarta Post reported yesterday. "There are people who analyse our 1945 Constitution using a foreign frame of mind," he told a meeting of senior government officials on Tuesday.

swatson@banda.ntu.edu.au - March 13, 1997

[Re posting re Ausaid to East Timor in the form of working with the Indonesian government to aid East Timor, specifically in the area of agriculture.]

Far Eastern Economic Review - March 13, 1997

Margot Cohen, Cirebon, West Java – Rohiman used to make a decent living selling eggs and cooking oil, but those entrepreneurial days are long gone. Now he spends his days sweating behind the handlebars of a pedicab, hauling people and goods through the streets of his hometown of Cirebon, West Java.

Amnesty International - March 13, 1997

Names: Hassan Hamid, 40; Mohammad Daud Abubakar; Ismail Syahputra; Raman Palu; Nijar Kandang; Tengku Affan; Inur Marlia (f).

Lusa - March 13, 1997

Melbourne – Three East Timorese were killed during intense Indonesian military operations in the territory, a report by an Australian human rights watchdog has said.

Reuters - March 13, 1997

Jakarta – Indonesia and Australia, whose relations have been rocky at times, take a step forward tomorrow when they sign a treaty delineating for the first time the maritime boundaries between the two countries.

AHRC Urgent Appeal - March 13, 1997

The Dayaks have lived peacefully with all the incoming ethnic groups, except the migrants from Madura. There had been clashes since the 1950s, but the recent violence is the worst. Dayaks who are mostly Catholics had destroyed property belonging to Muslim Madurese in the villages. Both the Dayaks and Madurese are marginalised, poor and compete for the same jobs.

Kompas - March 13, 1997

Jakarta – Five Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) activists who are witnesses in the trial of Garda Sembiring in the Central Jakarta State Court on Wednesday (12/3), jointly withdrew their statements in their Preliminary Investigation Reports (BAP). The grounds were that they were in the same position as Garda, that is accused in the same case.

March 12, 1997

Kompas - March 12, 1997

Situbondo, Kompas – Six people tried in connection with the October 10 Sitibundo riots have been sentenced to 6-14 months by the Situbondo state court (11/3). They were proven to have destroyed and burnt a court house, files, state documents and office equipment.

SiaR - March 12, 1997

Pontianak – The ethnic conflict between Madurans and Dayaks in Kalbar has calmed down. However there are still no definite figures on the number of victims. The government has yet to release any official figures. Army chief Maj-Gen Zacky Makarim gave a figure of 300 dead, half Dayaks and half Madurans. This figure was supported by Commander Tanjung-pura Mayjen Namoeri Anoem.

Kompas - March 12, 1997

Jakarta – Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) activist, Garda Sembiring at the Central Jakarta Court on Tuesday (11/3), withdrew all of this "testimony" [quotes added - JB] on Budiman Sudjatmiko in his Preliminary Investigation Report (BAP). He also refused to become a witness against Budiman.

Sydney Morning Herald - March 12, 1997

Louise Williams, Jakarta – Lawyers for Ms Megawati Sukarnoputri have challenged the Supreme Court to show that its judges were not ordered by the Soeharto Government to rule against the Indonesian democracy leader.

Antara News - March 12, 1997

Semarang, Central Java – Commander of the Indonesian Armed Forces (ABRI), Gen Feisal Tanjung, warned here Monday that there will be no compromise for those who disrupt national stability.

March 11, 1997

Bali Post - March 11, 1997

Surabaya – After HJC Princen, Prof Dr. Mudji Sutrisno and Prof Dr. JE Sahetapy, S.H., giliran Dr. Afan Gaffar, political experts from the Gajah Mada University (UGM) were witnesses in the trials of Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) members Dita Indah Sari (25), Coen Husein Pontoh (28), and M. Sholeh in the Surabaya State Court.

Amnesty International - March 11, 1997

Three young student activists, arrested by police in Jakarta on 6 March 1997 and currently believed to be in South Jakarta Police Resort, are feared to be at risk of torture or ill-treatment in custody. There is no information about whether they have access to independent lawyers or family members. Torture and ill-treatment of political detainees is common in Indonesia.