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Prosecution witnesses sympathetic to the PRD

Bergerak - January 27, 1997

Asmawati, a worker at PT Indoshoes in Citeurep, Bogor, who appeared as a witness in the case against Petrus Haryanto, Secretary of the PRD, in the beginning of January. He was silent for a moment after being asked by Petrus' defense lawyer if worker strikes/actions had had a positive impact on workers.

He then answered that the action [no date specified - JB] resulted in forcing the company to improve the situation. "All of our demands were fulfilled" she said. "So the strike was positive?" asked Leonard. Asmawati answered yes.

Apparently Asmawati's answer angered the public prosecutors since she was appearing as a prosecution witness, and the judge bullied her.

In questions directed to the involvement of the accused in two strikes at PT Indoshoes, Asmawati who admitted she didn't know the accused, said that she did not see him at the strike.

In her testimony in the case of PRD Chair Budiman Sudjatmiko, Asmawati praised the PRD which she referred to as greatly helping workers in their struggle for prosperity.

Other prosecution witnesses were hesitant in their answers. Agus for example, the PT Indoshoes SPSI [Government controlled All Indonesian Workers Trade Union - JB] Secretary said he didn't see the accused at the strike although he did see a man who admitted to being from PPBI [Indonesian Center for Labour Struggle] giving a speech at the workers living quarters but it was not Petrus. He also found a number of "black" leaflets which invited the workers to strike but he could not say who produced them.

A witness from the Dutch Embassy called Ahmad Yani also appeared as a prosecution witness. However he was also unable to confirm that Petrus was at the demonstration during the occupation of the Embassy [The PRD lead occupations on December 7, 1995 - JB]. He said only that around 50 people jumped the fence and occupied the Embassy grounds.

Another prosecution witness, the Director of PT Indoshoes, Jakob, who pretended to know [about the case] when questioned by defense lawyers actually knew nothing. Although he seemed certain at the beginning, in the end he was also "cornered" when it turned out that what he knew about the strike was from a report he got from a subordinate.

The defence team was addressed by the presiding judge, Mugihardjo SH because he considered they ware asking questions which were not relevant. Defense lawyer Leonard Simorangkir responded by reminding [him/the court - JB] that from the start the defence team had rejected the witnesses presented by the court because it was considered that [their testimony - JB] was not relevant.

But the protest was rejected. "Because his testimony is not relevant then all of it is not relevant" responded Leonard. However the judge did not respond to Leonard's statement and the witness' testimony stopped.

The PRD was charged with subversion on the basis of the worker demonstrations which they organised, including the demonstration at the Dutch Embassy which opposed the occupation of East Timor. But what made the judge resentful, the witnesses which were mostly workers whose fortunes had be struggled for by the PRD did not try to [lit] drop the accused in a hole.

"We are trying to lead the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses to admit that the worker demonstrations were a positive action because all of their demands were fulfilled. So are positive worker actions a subversive act?" asked Johnson Panjaitan SH, one of the PRD's defence lawyers.

So far there have been no prosecution witnesses which have damaged the PRD activists. Sri Bintang Pamungkas, the head of PUDI (Partai Uni Demokrasi Indonesia, Indonesian United Democratic Party) who was a witness in Petrus' trial said that he did not her the accused express words which had the intent of overthrowing the government.

The prosecution witnesses for Ken Budha Kusumandaru, Victor da Costa and Ign Putut Arintoko at the South Jakarta State Court could not "corner" the accused. The same witnesses also said that the worker actions [organised by the PRD - JB] were extremely advantageous for workers because worker's rights as decreed by law were soon fulfilled by the management.

The prosecutors were clearly disappointed although it is certain that the accused will be found guilty by the judge who does not have the courage to act independently. So it is not important if the PRD activists are proven to subversive or not. What is important, in accordance with the desires of the regime's leaders, they must be found guilty.

[Bergarak (lit: to be active) is a journal published weekly by the Surabaya KPP-PRD Advocacy Committee. The KPP-PRD Advocacy Committee overseeing the trials in Jakarta produce a similar weekly news letter called BUI (Jail/Prison) - JB.]