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Statement of the People's Democratic Party

Tapol - April 20, 1997

As members of the PRD, we have decided no longer to attend the court sessions that will decide our fate.

We value the hard work of those who have worked for these sessions. We also do not want to detract from our sympathetic feelings for the prosecutor, the judge and the other court officials. However, we know that that they are only an instrument of power that, by whatever means, intends to punish us. Regardless of whether we have done wrong or not. Our sentence was decided even before the process in court is finished, by means of the arbitrary Subversion Law and because we have already been widely condemned.

We were arrested because we were held responsible for the 27 July Event. However, when the interrogation results did not support that accusation, we were tried on other matters. At first we did not want to make things more difficult for the prosecutors and judges, who are after all only doing their jobs. However we at last decided to put a stop to this charade.

In Indonesia, under the New Order government, so many court cases have punished those fighting for freedom of association and freedom of speech, and those demanding justice because they have been robbed of a place to live. Those who criticize arbitrariness, corruption, collusion and misuse of power have also been punished. In latter times people who do not want to serve the interests of the powerholder and help them win the election and thus make their position even more unasailable have also been shoved aside. This has made the 1997 election look even more like the pretence it really is.

In short, so many have already become the victims of the powerholder's legal games, especially the weak and those unable to buy 'justice'. The people already know about this reality, and it has to be continually made known to them.

That is why we are broadcasting this decision of ours, and also as part of our accountability. This is part of our struggle to build social justice and to uphold democracy.

We thank the lawyers who defended us with all sincerity and completely without remuneration.

We hope this action will lighten the workload of the judges and prosecutors, even if it will not make it easier for them to give a moral accounting to their own consciences.

Jakarta, 21 April 1997.

People's Democratic Party, Budiman Sujatmiko (Chairman), Petrus Hariyanto (Secretary-General)