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Dita Sari hospitalised with typhoid

Green Left Weekly - November 26, 1997

James Balowski – On November 18, the Javanese daily Surya reported that the chair of the Centre for Labour Struggles (PPBI), Dita Indah Sari, had been admitted to the Syaiful Anwar hospital in Malang, East Java, suffering typhoid. PPBI is affiliated with the banned People's Democratic Party (PRD).

Dita was sentenced to five years' jail for "subversion" on April 22. She was previously jailed in the Medaeng prison in Surabaya, East Java. Following the largest prison riots in Indonesian history in June - which left the prison uninhabitable - Dita was moved to the isolated Kebon Waru prison in Malang.

Dita is the only political prisoner in Kebon Waru, and visits by friends and family have been restricted. She has been isolated from other prisoners and prevented from reading newspapers or magazines or watching television. Her family and lawyers have complained to the National Human Rights Commission but have received no response.

According to the underground magazine SiaR, Dita was admitted to hospital on November 15. She is delirious and very weak and being fed intravenously. Security around her room is extremely tight, police and prison guards maintaining a 24-hour watch. Journalists who tried to visit were turned away.

The of the prison, Sri Hartati, refused to answer journalists when asked how Dita might have contracted the disease. Typhoid is usually associated with unsanitary water or food.

Meanwhile, the Indonesian official radio station RRI last week reported that the jailed chair of the PRD, Budiman Sujatmiko, had escaped.

Journalists attempting to confirm the story were prevented from entering the prison where Budiman is being held. The underground PRD has yet to confirm or deny the story, but activists are concerned that it may have been concocted to cover up a "disappearance" designed to intimidate other pro-democracy activists.