Suryani Ika Sari, Jakartar – The People's Democratic Party (PRD) is calling for the government of President Megawati Sukarnoputri to conduct a thorough investigation into the July 27 case(1) and the human rights violations which were committed during the period of the New Order regime of former President Suharto. This call was issued by PRD chairperson Yusuf Lakaseng at a press conference which was held at the PRD offices in Tebet, South Jakarta, on Monday June 14.
Also present at the press conference were victims of the July 27 incident such as Dita Indah Sari and former PRD secretary general Petrus Haryanto(2). Lakaseng said that the perpetrators of the July 27 case, such as former armed forces chief of political affairs Syarwan Hamid, former armed forces chief Feisal Tanjung, Jakarta governor Sutiyoso, then Jakarta military chief of staff Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, film director Imam Tantowi and Suharto must be thoroughly investigated. "We will never stop demanding that the government thoroughly investigate the July 27 incident", said Lakaseng.
Lakaseng also said that if the case is not fully resolved respect for human rights in Indonesia will never be achieved. He believes that continuing delays in resolving the July 27 case by Megawati indicate that she is inconsistent in wanting to resolve the case. "It looks like Megawati doesn't want to resolve this case", said Lakaseng.
1. Following weeks of protests at the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) headquarters in Central Jakarta by pro-Megawati PDI supporters after the Suharto regime engineered Megawati's removal as the party's democratically elected chairperson, on July 27, 1966, paid thugs backed by the military attacked and destroyed the PDI offices resulting in the death of as many as 50 people. Popular outrage at the attack sparked several days of mass rioting and violent clashes with police. Many had hoped that with Megawati's ascendancy to the presidency those responsible would be held accountable however Megawati and other leading party figures have publicly distanced themselves (refusing to attend annual commemorations) from the issue. Those who were eventually brought to trial in late 2003 have all been low ranking soldiers or civilians and have either been acquitted for lack of evidence or given light sentences. None of those believed to have organised or led the attack have been brought to trial.
2. Popular outrage at the July 27 attack sparked several days of mass rioting and violent clashes with police which was blamed on the PRD, who's members were hunted down and arrested as the masterminds behind the riots. In 1997, Dita Indah Sari and Petrus Haryanto, along with 11 other members of the PRD, were sentenced to long jail terms for subversion.
[Translated by James Balowski.]