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Judge asks Bambang Widjojanto to appear as PRD witness/PRD activists present protest letter

Kompas - February 7, 1997

Jakarta – The presiding judge of Central Jakarta State Court trying the case of Budiman Sujatmiko, the chair of the PRD, Sjoffinan Sumantri has asked the public prosecutor to have Bambang Widjojanto appear as a witness. Although Widjojanto, the chairperson of the Indonesian Legal Aid Institute (YLBHI), has already received the summons, he has refused to appear as a witness on Thursday (6/2). The court has said the grounds for his refusal were not clear.

Meanwhile the trial of Garda Sembiring was stopped after Sembiring said he was ill.

In Budiman's trial, the court heard testimony from Rekson Silaban, a SBSI (Serikat Buruh Sejahtra Indonesia, Indonesian Trade Union for Prosperity) activist who said he fist met the accused in June 1996, when he attended a meeting of social organisations and NGOs at YLBHI.

In the South Jakarta State Court, PRD dependents have presented a strong protest letter on the running of the court which is trying them. It was announced during the trial of three PRD activists: Ken Budha Kusumandaru, Victor Da Costa and Ign Putut Arintoko on Thursday afternoon.

The protest letter signed by the Secretary General of the PRD Petrus Hari Hariyanto, protested the actions of the public prosecutor who only read statements by 20 witnesses without presenting them in court. The protest letter stated that "we consider that only in the court can a witness give testimony which is independent [lit: bebas, free - JB]", questioning the testimony of witnesses based on their BAP (Berita Acara Pidana, Preliminary Investigation Report) if they are not presented in court and the testimony only read to the judge.

In response, judge only accepted the protest letter and asked that it be noted adding that this was not the time for it to be read and it could be included with other statements later.

[Abridged translation from Kompas - JB]