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Judicial review of Pakpahan conviction

Agence France Presse - August 7, 1997

Jakarta – Indonesia's independent trade union leader filed a judicial review to the Supreme Court, asking the body to review his conviction over the April 1994 Medan riots.

Appearing in court for the first time since his hospitalisation in March, Pakpahan told the East Jakarta court they had new evidence to prove that he did not incite the riots.

'We have eleven new witnesses who are ready to testify for him,' Pakpahan's lead lawyer, Lufti Hakim said. They were ready to testify that they had received a circular from the SBSI headed by Ppakpahan, calling for the delay of the strikes from April till October 1994.

In November 1994, a court in Medan jailed Pakpahan for three years for incitement; a court of appeal added another year.

However, to the surprise of many, the Supreme Court in December 1995 cleared Pakpahan of all charges, citing insufficient evidence for his conviction. In Octoher 1996, the same court overruled its earlier verdict and reimposed the jail sentence after the prosecution, in a step deemed highly unusual by legal exports, appealed the court's verdict.

The judicial review was submitted Thursday in Jakarta, not in the Medan court where it should have been filed, because Pakpahan is unable to travel due to his poor health and because he is currently also facing subversion charges at another Jakarta court.

[NB: Ppakpahan is still hospitalised at Cikini Hospital, Jakarta.]