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Court condemns PRD activists to 3-15 year sentences

Kompas - April 15, 1997

Jakarta – Although the People's Democratic Party (PRD) activists refused to appear in court, the public prosecutor announced the sentence it has requested for punishment of those involved in the subversion case. The event took place on Monday (14/4) at the National Court in Central Jakarta and South Jakarta. The defendants were on the court premises but refused to sit in their designated area.

Budiman Sudjatmiko, Garda Sembiring, Jakobus Eko Kurniawan, Ignatius Pranowo and Suroso were tried at the National Court in Central Jakarta. Four other defendants were tried at the National Court in South Jakarta, they are: Petrus Hariyanto, Ken Budha Kusumandaru, Victor da Costa and Ignatius Putut Arintoko. The two remaining defendants, Wilson and Anom Astika have yet to be tried given that witnesses have yet to be obtained.

Having refused to attend the court session, the accused requested that a letter be read in court. The letter, which was handed to the judges, stated that their rights as defendants had not been respected throughout the prosecution. For instance, the evidence was not shown to the accused and they felt that witnesses had been interrogated fairly.

After it was confirmed that the accused would not attending the court as their sentence was read, the judge decided to go ahead anyway and announce the court's ruling. In face of the judges' determination, the defence attorneys for Budiman Sudjatmiko also refused to attend the ruling. Ken Budha's lawyers did the same. Only those representing Jakobus Eko Kurniawan and Garda Sembiring remained in court.

Proof of accusations

The public prosecutor in charge of Budiman Sudjatmiko, M. Salim, declared that sufficient evidence had been mustered to demonstrate that the defendant had engaged in subversive behaviour aiming at destabilizing the New Order. These actions, in which several members of the PRD took place, had been part of a program decided at the time of the PRD's emergency congress.

The goal of this action plan was to overthrow the New Order's leadership and replace it by a popular democratic coalition. "The accused, especially the PRD's Chairman Sudjatmiko, had been acting consistently with the aim of discrediting the New Order government under President Soeharto's leadership without acknowledging its numerous achievements in matters of political development, economic growth, and national stability," said the prosecutor. There was not a single reference to the events of 27 July in the course of the ruling.

According to the judges' panel, the defendants had trans-gressed several articles of Indonesia's criminal legislation. Given that evidence had proved the guilt of the defendants on several charges, there was no longer need to gather evidence on the remaining charges.

Meanwhile, the trial of the two remaining defendants, Wilson and Anom Astika, has been rescheduled in order to allow additional time for the legal teams to find witnesses.