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Eight more arrests in Yogyakarta

Amnesty International - April 3, 1997

24 students A protest against the arrest of 24 students in Yogyakarta, Central Java on 1 April has resulted in eight further arrests and beatings of protestors in the city.

According to unconfirmed information, the protest involving up to 600 people took place in Yogyakarta on 2 April. The demonstrators, mainly students from Yogyakarta universities, marched around the various university colleges shouting slogans including "free our comrades" and "we will boycott [the elections]". Speeches were also made in support of the pro-democracy movement and attacking military brutality. At around midday a scuffle broke out between some of the demonstrators and government intelligence agents. Five students are reported to have been beaten by the police. Another seven students - Titok Haryanto, Aman, Hari Prabow, Indit, Aturma, Agung and Ardiansyah - and one high school student - Maria Karmelia were arrested. It is believed that they were taken to the police headquarters.

The 24 students arrested on 1 April are now also believed to have been transferred from military to police custody. According to the local military resort commander, Colonel Gaffar, the 24 are now under investigation by the police. It is not known if they, or the eight arrested on 2 April, have access to lawyers or to their families. Amnesty International remains concerned that they are at risk of torture or ill-treatment.

The organization is further concerned that the eight may have been arrested for the peaceful expression of their views. In a statement to the news daily Kompas on 2 April by the Deputy Attorney General for Special Crimes the authorities made clear its intention to punish those accused of disrupting the forthcoming parliamentary elections "[a]nyone disrupting the elections will definetly face the arm of the law... The Attorney General's office has prepared a group of laws..."