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PDI-P calls for justice in Kudatuli case amid concerns of politicization

Jakarta Post - July 28, 2022

Tramaditya Salim, Jakarta – The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) has urged the government to revisit the Kudatuli massacre and bring the perpetrators to justice, even as the victims warned against politicization ahead of the 2024 general elections.

Dozens of families members of the victims of the Kudatuli riots held mass prayers and a flower-laying ceremony at the PDI-P headquarters in Jakarta earlier this week to commemorate the 26th anniversary of the Kudatuli incident, in which several party loyalists were killed and many more injured during a sacking by military personnel of the party's headquarters.

Accompanying the group, known as the Communication Forum of the 124 victims of July 27 (FKK-124), were PDI-P party elites, including central board executive Ribka Tjiptaning and secretary-general Hasto Kristiyanto.

"The PDI-P wants the case to be investigated," Ribka said on Tuesday. "We call for not only the arrest of the perpetrators but also the intellectual actors behind them, regardless of rank. They all still walk freely without legal consequence."

During the commemoration event, Hasto reiterated the importance of remembering the incident to unveil the truth behind it: "In essence, what brings us closest to justice is to punish whoever initiated a scenario that has tainted our democratic history with such a dark human tragedy."

The day the riots took place is known as Gloomy Saturday and saw the military forcibly take over the headquarters of the then-Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) in Central Jakarta on July 27, 1996. Hundreds of people were injured and five people died in the incident.

Nearly two years after the bloodshed, on May 21, 1998, then-president Soeharto stepped down. Megawati marked a new era of reform by changing the party's name to the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), and the party won the subsequent general election in 1999.

The Kudatuli case remains unsolved until today, despite Megawati going on to run the country between 2001 and 2004 as the nation's fifth president.

Victims of Kudatuli, however, have warned the party not to capitalize on the incident for political purposes ahead of the 2024 elections.

"Don't use us as an annual political commodity before the general election. Like durian season, we are only invited when elections are approaching. We are tired of all the rhetoric," said Iwan Sanusi, a member of FKK 124, last week during a live-streamed discussion.

Iwan said he was aggrieved because the ruling party should have been able to push for the case to be resolved.

"But the case has not been included in recommendations for [investigating] past serious human rights violations. I'm really disappointed because there is no accountability from the party's central executive board over the case," he said.

During the same discussion event, Nathan Tulis, one of the families of the Kudatuli victims, expressed hope that the state will take the initiative to resolve the case. "We don't understand the law, but don't [exploit] us," he said.

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/indonesia/2022/07/28/pdi-p-calls-for-justice-in-kudatuli-case-amid-concerns-of-politicization.htm