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Gerindra politician Desmond Mahesa dies at 57

Jakarta Globe - June 24, 2023

Jakarta – Desmond Mahesa, a lawmaker from the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), died on Saturday after battling with illnesses at a Jakarta hospital. He was 57.

Party Chairman Prabowo Subianto described Desmond as a key figure at Gerindra and a close ally who took part in building Gerindra from scratch.

"He had been with me building Gerindra since the beginning, for about 15 years. He was a respected activist who worked to build Gerindra," Prabowo said after paying respect at Desmond's home in Ragunan, South Jakarta.

Desmond held key positions at Gerindra as the chairman of the Banten chapter and deputy chairman of the advisory board.

He was also the deputy chairman of the House of Representatives Commission III overseeing legal and political affairs.

"It's a sad day and a big loss for Gerindra with the passing of Mr. Desmond Junaidi Mahesa. He was well-known for his critical approaches in delivering opinions and stance when leading meetings at the House Commission III," Gerindra Secretary-General Ahmad Muzani said in a statement.

Born in Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan, on Dec. 12, 1965, Desmond was previously known as a political activist critical of the Soeharto regime.

He was one of the pro-democracy activists who were kidnapped in 1997-98 in what many believed was the work of the military during Soeharto's authoritarian rule.

The kidnapping of activists was tied to the Army's Special Force Command (Kopassus) which was led by Prabowo at that time.

Prabowo was never tried in court for the kidnapping although several members of Kopassus' Tim Mawar (Rose Team) have been convicted of abducting activists.

Desmond's decision to team up with Prabowo and establish Gerindra surprised many people but he demonstrated loyalty and dedication to the party after he was elected lawmaker in 2009.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/gerindra-politician-desmond-mahesa-dies-at-5