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Arrests of students was for interrogation

Bandung Pos - November 19, 1997

Police admit that they have arrested a number of Bandung students while they were holding a demonstration on the grounds of Gasibu, Bandung, last Monday.

The head of the Bandung police, Colonel Eriwn told the press that the arrest of the students was done in order to interrogate them about the background to the action.

"They were 'secured' to get information in relation to the demonstration they held which was directed in provocative forms and intended to spread feelings of hatred against the government among broader society" said Colonel Erwin.

According to Erwin, security forces had already identified and investigated them to find out the extent of their involvement in the demonstration, which also distributed a leaflet titled "Declaration of the Indonesian People's Front".

The students who were "asked" for information by the Bandung police are: Den (21), an IAIN Bandung student; Wil (19), an Unwim Bandung student; Sam (21), a STIKOM Bandung student; Mar (20), a Unpar Bandung student; PA (21), an Unpar Bandung student; Bin (22), a STIKOM Bandung student; Pit (21), an Unpar Bandung student; DY (18), a STSI Bandung student and; LNH (22), a student at Unpar Bandung.

Erwin, accompanied by a number of other officers said that they were detained at 10.30am while the group of students was leaving the Gasibu grounds heading toward the Jebar parliament building and taken to the police station by truck.

Police said that the initial results of the investigation found that the nine students did not know about the leaflet which is considered [by the authorities] to be quite disturbing to society.

Police however, consider that there is still a possibility that the action was "masterminded" by irresponsible people.

"Look at the sophistication of the leaflet's contents, clearly it is a form of provocation and spreading feelings of hatred, primarily against the official government", he said.

Because of this the police will continue to carry out the investigation to find they "actor" who is behind them, he said.


1. As of December 3, the FRI activists are still being processed by the authorities and will be tried for disturbing public order and insulting the head of state. Letters of authority ordering them to be witnesses (without knowing who has been charged) have already been received by the arrested FRI activists, although FRI activists have refused to respond to the letters.

2. The FRI is preparing a solidarity action for the struggle of the East Timorese people on December 8, 1997, in Jakarta.

3. We ask for concern and support from all Indonesian and international democratic groups,

Translators notes:

1. Aside from the state party Golkar, only two other "opposition" parties are allowed to contest the general elections. They were "created" in 1993 when the regime forcibly amalgamated the remaining ten political parties which had survived the purgings and bannings of 1965/66 into the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI), made up of the Christian and Nationalist parties and the United Development Party (PPP), representing Islamic interests.

2. DPR: Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat, Peoples Representative Assembly (Parliament). Consisting of 500 members, 425 elected from the three officially recognised political parties during the general elections: Golkar (the state party), the United Development Party and the Indonesian Democratic Party. The remaining 75 members are appointed by the president from the military (who are not allowed to vote).

3. The original Indonesian term used was "disiksa", which can also mean to interrogate or torture.

4. Aldera: Aliansi Demokrasi Rakyat, the People's Democratic Alliance, was formed in late 1994 and is made up of a number of pro-democratic and non-government organisations including PIJAR, FAMI, SKEPHI, the women's organisation Kaliamitra and the Yogyakarta Student Youth Council (Dewan Mahasiswa Pemuda Yogyakarta, DMPY).

[Translated by James Balowski]