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Five Indonesian students to go on trial for advocating election boycott

Agence France Presse - February 1, 1997

Jakarta – Five Indonesian students will be tried for allegedly distributing stickers advocating a boycott of upcoming parliamentary elections, a report said Saturday.

The four students in Purwokerto, Central Java, were accused of inciting people to engage in crime and the police are preparing dossiers for trial, said Captain Abdul Jalal, the head of the district's police detectives, in a report in the Republika daily.

The four, arrested on January 18, could face up to four years in jail.

They were arrested following the questioning of another student who will testify against them in court, Jalal said.

The stickers advocated an election boycott if "labour wages remain low, (land) evictions continue and the package of five laws is not revoked." The package includes laws which limit the number of political parties to three, sets government supervision on them through the home affairs minister, and requires the parties to swear allegiance to the state ideology.

The stickers were first discovered in the town early in January.

One of the detained students said that 50 stickers had been sold at between 500 and 1,500 rupiah (21 and 63 cents) each last year to fund a student book discussion, Republika said.

The five students have designated lawyers from the Indonesian Legal Aid Institute to defend them, the daily said. The date of their trials has yet to be set. Around 120 million Indonesians are to go to the polls on May 29. bs/lk