Julisu Usman and Saleh Abdullah, activists from PUDI, were released on 3 April after being held by the Attorney-General for 29 days. This was confirmed by their lawyer, Irianto Subiakto of the LBH, who said they had been released on the surety of their families.
Their release has come as quite a surprise as this is the first time that people who have been held under the subversion law have been allowed out, said Abdul Haki Garuda Nusantara, director of ELSAM.
But a request for the release of Sri-Bintang Pamungkas, chair of PUDI, has not been granted. In fact,. he has challenged his arrest in court and the case is now being heard. in the South Jakarta district court. Irianto Subiakto was not able to say why Sri-Bintang had not been treated in the same way as the other two. 'Let's hope his release will follow, but the people investigating his case would need to be asked about this.'
Irianto said that Julius and Saleh had not been unconditionally released. They are required to report to the Attorney-General's office every Monday,' said Irianto. 'And whenever they are need for questioning, they will have to present themselves.' The lawyer reckons that if the authorities have seen fit to release Julius and Saleh, then they should also release Sri-Bintang. 'There's no reason for the authorities to keep him in custody now that they have released the others,' he said.
Sri-Bintang has made it known through his brother Ridwan that he is willing to fight on alone should his two colleagues be released.
Head of Public Relations at the Attorney-General's office said the two men had been released because of the progress made in the investigations. 'We consider that it's no longer necessary to hold them, but the case as a whole is still under investigation,' he said. If the two released men fail to comply with the conditions of their release, they will be taken into custody again, he said.
He strongly denied that the releases had anything to do with outside pressure. They were allowed out because we received surety from their lawyers and their families, the official said.
Asked whether the two released men were allowed to issue political statements, the official said that they can do so, provided it's not in contravention of the laws in force.
The two released men told reporters that they were still regarded as suspects and must report every Monday. Asked whether they would still stand by their political position, they told journalists that they certainly would. 'One of the points in our political programme is to press for a rise in wages for civil servants and members of the armed forces from the lowest ranks upwards.' They denied that the decision to release them was part of a strategy to split their party. 'We are not beholden to any outside forces. The unity between depends solely on ourselves,' they said.