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Soebadio's personal secretary arrested and becomes suspect

Kompas - March 20, 1997

Jakarta – Soebadio Sastrosatomo's personal secretary, Buyung Rachmat Buchori Nasution was arrested by the police on Wednesday (19/3). In the arrest warrant Buyung was referred to as a suspect. He is believed to have printed the book "New Era New Leader-Badio [Soebadio] rejects the New Order's Engineering" written by Soebadio which was banned by the attorney general Singgih on March 4.

Buyung has agreed to accept legal assistance from PBHI (Perhimpunan Bantuan Hukum (dan Hak Asasi Manusia, Indonesia Indonesian Legal Aid Association). Hendardi (executive director of PBHI) confirmed Buyung's arrest. "Although what is rather strange, is that the arrest warrant had printed on it only January, without a date. If that is so, why [has he] only just been arrested", said Hendardi.

In the arrest warrant, Buyung is accused of violating articles 137 of the Criminal code which reads: Whoever broadcasts, shows or displays in public writings or paintings who's contents insults the president or vice-president, with the intention that the insulting contents inform or better inform the public, is liable to a maximum sentence of one year four months or a maximum fine of 300 Rp.

Police Let-Col Edward Aritonang confirmed to Kompas that Buyung's status was not yet definite. "At the moment we are seeking a statement [from him] as a witness. But if the results of the investigation indicate that his involvement, Buyung's status could become as a suspect", said Aritonang on Wed (19/3).

A police source said that Buyung was arrested because he was in possession of a manuscript of the book. "He was the one who suggested to Soebadio improvements to the manuscript", said the source.

The police are now investigating if the improved manuscript of Buyung's was distributed. "The police are also searching for other people who may be involved in the printing or distribution of the manuscript besides Buyung", said the source.

Meanwhile, Soebadio Sastrosatomo who was contacted by Kompas via telephone confirmed that Buyung was his personal secretary. "He was the one who I asked to print the book" said Soebadio who refrained from commenting on the arrest.

According to Hendardi, "it must be proven first if it is true that the book insulted the president. So far there is still no proof". He also said that it was long after the book was printed that it was banned so Buyung cannot be categorised as having committed a crime.

[Abridged translation from Kompas - James Balowski]