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Judge requests that the prosecutor present Bambang Widjojanto as witness

Kompas - February 21, 1997

The prosecutor, M Salim in the Central Jakarta State Court on Thursday, February 20, again requested the appearance of Bambang Widjojanto, the chairperson of YLBHI [Yayasan Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Indonesia, Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation]. Bambang has been ordered to be a witness in the subversion case against PRD chairperson Budiman Sudjatmiko.

"We [the judges] still want to have Bambang appear as a witness in this case. It is a technical problem, if needed, the prosecutor can be accompanied by security personal to forcibly present that witness" said the presiding judge Sjoffinan Sumantri. He added that he will again release a summons to present Bambang forcibly.

In the previous hearing, the judge ordered the prosecutor to present the witness forceably. But, obviously the prosecutor was not able to find the witness either in his home or office.

In Budiman's case yesterday, eventually only one witness was questioned, Dwi Setyaning Sunu, an employee of PT Kingstone. While in the case of another PRD activist, Garda Sembiring, again only one witness, and employee of the General Secretary of the Parliament (DPR RI), Haposan Hutabarat, was questioned.

Meanwhile, in the case against Mochtar Pakpahan in the South Jakarta State Court, Pakpahan's defense lawyer and a number of others present objected because the judge overly dominated the proceedings. Each question, either from the prosecutor or the defence lawyers had to be done though the presiding judge.

Bambang remains firm

Bambang told Kompas he was determined not to appear as a witness against Budiman. "The summons must be presented to the witnesses' house not office... if I am presented forcefully, then where is the concept that a witness should be questioned in a situation free from pressure and threats", said Bambang.

Meanwhile in court, the judge explained that he had gone to Bambang's address as listed in the BAP (Berita Acara Pidana, Preliminary Investigation Report). But it was in fact the address of the witnesses' parents. In the end the prosecution took the summons to the witnesses' office, YLBHI. "When I arrived at the YLBHI offices, the witness was there. But I was prevented from meeting with Bambang by Munir (the Operational Secretary of YLBHI). In the end the summons was handed over to Bambang via Munir. And the witness has accepted it", added Salim.

As stated by Sjoffinan, before the session, he had received two letters of objection from Bambang. Dated February 13 and 19 and read to the court, Bambang said that the summons was in conflict with the Indonesian Criminal Code which states that a witness may not be forced to give evidence.

[Abridged translation from Kompas - JB]