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Urgent Action on Muchtar Pakpahan

OMCT - September 24, 1997 (posted by Tapol)

The International Secretariat of OMCT has received new information on the detention and trial of Mr Mochtar Pakpahan in Indonesia.


In the appeal IDN 310796 and its previous follow ups, the International Secretariat informed you - at the request of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) and Tapol (Indonesia Human Rights Campaign), both members of the network - of the grave concern for the physical and psychological integrity of Mr Mochtar Pakpahan, 44, the General Chairman of the Serikat Buruh Segahtra Indonesia (SBSI). He was arrested under the Anti-Subversion Act on 29 July 1996 after a raid on the PDI office in Jakarta on 27 July 1996. In virtue of this law, Mr Mochtar Pakpahan could receive the death sentence. He has also been charged under Article 154 of Indonesia's Criminal Code for a subsidiary charge of expressing hostility, hatred or contempt against the government of Indonesia, which carries a maximum penalty of seven years.

Mr Mochtar Pakpahan had been previously detained, harassed, and subjected to intimidation, while apparently carrying out legitimate trade union activities. On 25 October 1996, the Indonesian Supreme Court reversed its earlier decision and restored Mr Mochtar Pakpahan four year prison sentence for allegedly inciting Medan workers to riot of 1994. ICFTU stated that the charges brought against Mr Mochtar Pakpahan in 1994 and in 1996 were without either substantiated charges or convincing evidence.

According to the information received from Tapol, Mr Muchtar Pakpahan is suffering from vertigo, sinusitus and stomach disorders since being arrested and had been denied medical treatment at the Cipinang Prison. After several complaints, the judge presiding over the hearing of Mr Muchtar Pakpahan had instructed prison authorities to arrange for him to receive medical treatment. Due to his ill health, he was unable to attend one court hearing.

New Information

According to new information received from reliable sources, the health of Mr Mochtar Pakpahan is deteriorating seriously. Apparently, doctors have found a tumour in Mr Muchtar Pakpahan's right lung and a blockage in an artery in his brain. But since he is in detention he is not allowed to travel overseas for medical treatment.

The trial of Mr Muchtar Pakpahan resumed on 4 September 1997, after a six months adjournment due to his poor health. Mr Muchtar Pakpahan and his lawyers are currently presenting evidence to the Court which suggests that he wanted to prevent industrial action which contradicts the allegations of the prosecution. Furthermore, new evidence is being presented to demonstrate that Mr Muchtar Pakpahan was not involved in the Medan riots of 4 April 1994 as the prosecution alleges.