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Prabowo to be summoned by ABRI

Jakarta Post - February 24, 1999 (abridged)

Jakarta – Minister of Defense/Armed Forces Commander Gen. Wiranto said on Tuesday he would summon Lt. Gen. (ret.) Prabowo Subianto, former chief of the Army's Strategic Reserves Command (Kostrad), to question' him about a meeting at Kostrad headquarters one day after violent rioting in the capital.

He also told legislators that Prabowo, also former commander of the Army's Special Forces (Kopassus) and son-in law of former president Soeharto, could be brought to court for his involvement in the abduction of activists if required by the ongoing trial of 11 Kopassus members.

"I will call him (Prabowo) immediately to ask for his clarification of the May 14 meeting to let the public know whether it had anything to do with the rioting or not," he told the House of Representatives Commission I for defense and security

The commission urged him to summon Prabowo as soon as possible. Legislators said the public was confused over allegations that Prabowo was closely linked with the riots, despite the denials he sent through friends from Jordan, where he is now staying.

Noted businessman Hashim S. Djojohadikusumo, Prabowo's younger brother, has insisted there was nothing secret about the meeting, which was a "very normal meeting among friends".

Gozali Abbas of the United Development Party (PPP) raised questions about Prabowo's whereabouts. "We do not know whether he has escaped Indonesia. Many newspapers have reported he is in Germany and many others reported he is in Jordan. Why does he stay overseas while facing many problems at home?" A presidential spokeswoman, Dewi Fortuna Anwar, had earlier raised similar questions regarding Prabowo.

The ABRI commander said Prabowo could be brought to trial for his involvement in the abduction of political activists. "If the [ongoing] trial of 11 defendants proves that Prabowo was involved in the abduction, the latter will be brought to court," he said. Gozali has spoken of public amazement that the results of the Officers' Honor Council's inquiry into Prabowo's role in the abduction case had been separated from the ongoing trial, which Wiranto denied.

Wiranto repeated his explanation of the concentration of troops around the President's residence and the State Palace last May. President B.J. Habibie has said they were under the command of Prabowo. He had told a meeting of German and Asian editors that he had ordered Wiranto to disperse the troops.

His spokeswoman, Dewi, refuted Prabowo's statement regarding the deployment of troops. Prabowo said he aimed to protect the President, while Dewi said Habibie and his family had felt threatened.

Wiranto told the House: "There was no coup attempt at that time. While there has been speculation over Habibie's remarks to the editors' gathering, Wiranto insisted the statement was made to show that despite the unstable situation, ABRI was committed to remaining loyal to the 1945 Constitution.