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Rais: Sjahril case reflects intervention

Dow Jones Newswires - June 22, 2000

Jakarta – The chairman of the Indonesia's upper House of Representatives, Amien Rais, added his voice Thursday to the chorus protesting the detention of Bank Indonesia Governor Sjahril Sabirin, saying it smacks of political intervention.

"The detention means that the existing law is based on intervention from authorities rather than justice principles," Rais told local television station Surya Citra Televisi.

He said he "was surprised" with the detention. "It's also almost unbelievable and the process [to detain] him was too fast,", he said.

Rais said the detention of Sjahril appeared to be politically motivated. "This is political intervention or power intervention," he added. "This is, I am sorry ... too much."

Indonesian Attorney General Marzuki Darusman detained Sjahril Wednesday, marking the first high-profile casualty of the Bank Bali lending scandal. Sjahril has been detained for 20 days at the attorney general's jail house to question him further on his alleged involvement in the Bank Bali scandal, which rocked Indonesia's markets last year and led international lenders to suspend loans to the country.

A public dispute between Sjahril and President Abdurrahman Wahid has stoked speculation that the case against the governor is politically motivated and driven more by Wahid's wish to oust him than by any hard evidence against Sjahril. Marzuki has denied this and stressed that Wahid didn't order the detention. Marzuki said Thursday he has enough evidence to charge Sjahril with corruption.

Rais claimed the move by the attorney general to detain Sjahril was discriminative and reflects the fact that existing laws also discriminate. Rais said Wahid's government has already lost much of the momentum in its efforts to gain more support from at home and abroad.