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Indonesian unionist too ill to resume subversion trial

Agence France Presse - August 28, 1997 (Extracts only)

Jakarta – The subversion trial of Indonesia's independent labour leader Muchtar Pakpahan, set to resume Thursday after a six-month break due to illness, was postponed to next week because of ill health.

'We cannot proceed with the case if the defendant is not ready', said South Jakarta district court judge Djazuli Sudibyo, who presided over the case. The judge suspended the session after 15 minutes when he confirmed that Pakpahan was too weak to stand trial. He said the case will resume next Thursday.

A pale-looking Pakpahan, assisted by two people into the packed courtroom, rested his head on the desk soon after he sat down.

Dr Ramli, a doctor from Cikini Hospital where the labour leader has been treated since 1 March, accompanied Pakpahan to the court and said that his patient was suffering from vertigo.

Pakpahan's lawyer, Lutfi Hakim expressed his disappointment with the authorities who insisted on transporting his client from prison to the court in a small non-air-conditioned prison minivan instead of Pakpahan's private car.

'He was fine when he went in his own car from the hospital to prison. But it was during the trip from the prison to the court that Muchtar started feeling ill,' Hakim said after the session.

Pakpahan's subversion trial, which started last December. was suspended after he entered hospital in March. His repeated requests to go abroad to seek medical treatment for a benign tumour on his right lung have been rejected by the government.