APSN Banner

Before being questioned, three PRD accused 'Walk Out'

Kompas - April 11, 1997

Jakarta – Three of the accused in Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) subversion case, Budiman Sudjatmiko, Garda Sembiring and Ignatius Pranowo, who are being tried separately, carried out a walk out, before being question by the Central Jakarta State Court on Thursday (10/4). Meanwhile, in the trials of PRD members in Surabaya, the prosecution is still demanding that the accused Dita Indah Sari and Coen Husein receive 8 and 6 years respectively. In Jakarta, Budiman did not object to being questioned, but he asked that a defence witness, Vedi Hadiz, a labour expert give evidence first. The judge was of the opinion that the questioning of the accused could not be delayed any longer.

"I do not object to being questioned, however it is my right as the accused to be given consideration. Because of that, I want the defence witness who is already present to be questioned first", said Budiman. However the judge rejected the request and the accused asked permission to leave the court room. The defense team followed. Without the accused and the defence lawyers, the hearing continued. The prosecutor was asked to read the accused statement from the Preliminary Investigation Report (BAP).

Meanwhile the accused Garda Sebiring refused to be question because his was forced to attend by the prosecutor. He had made other arrangements which had already been agreed to by the judge in the previous session.

Because of this, he asked to prosecutor to apologise for forcing him to attend. The judge then ordered him to be questioned in the following session, but because the request was refused, Garda left the court room. The defense lawyer stated for the reading of Garda statement from his BAP.

A walk out action was carried out by Pranowo who is being tried together with Jakobus Eko Kurniawan and Suroso. Pranowo continued to question the nature of his detention which the judge said was just an administrative issue. Pranowo refused the explanation and left the court. The other defendants and defence lawyers continued with the trial.

In the South Jakarta state court, PRD general secretary Petrus H Hariyanto explained that the PRD were not a communist party. "The PRD does not intend to establish a communist state. What we want is a state with a multiparty system. Communism [is a system] of a sole party", he said in his testimony.

Petrus admitted to know of the efforts to discredit the PRD. Some time before the July 27 incident, he said, the authorities had been campaigning in the mass media [accusing] the PRD of being communist and action would be taken. The PRD had sent written objections to the press. At the time of the attack on the PDI offices and the riot which followed, he also obtained information that the PRD would be scapegoated as masterminding the riots. Because of this, he ordered the PRD secretariat to be emptied.

In Surabaya, the public prosecutor has told the court that Dita Indah Sari (25) and Coen Husein Pontoh (28) have been proved to have carried out acts of subversion and criticised the state ideology. The prosecution is demanding Dita be jailed for eight years and Coen Pontoh six, minus the time they have already spent in jail.

Meanwhile in a separate court, the accused Mochamat Sholeh (23) and his defence team presented his defence speech against the demand that he be sentenced to five years in jail.

Sholeh acknowledged as a student [he was] not like the "66 generation" (Angkatan 66) students [Students who campaigned against president Sukarno and the Indonesian Communist Party]. "That I am found guilty is a risk and [I give this speech] before God. In truth laws are created for justice. For the poor people, we apologise because we cannot continue to struggle to help them", he said. Sholeh was convinced that "one struggle, one transformation will surely triumph".

[Slightly abridged translation from Kompas - James Balowski]