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Ex-PRD members accuse Gerindra of huge insult, belittling past rights abuses

CNN Indonesia - July 27, 2023

Jakarta – Former People's Democratic Party (PRD) leader Lilik Hastuti says that the Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) has committed a huge insult by belittling the issue of human rights (HAM) violations attached to Gerindra chairperson and the party's presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto.

This was conveyed by Hastuti in response to a statement by Gerindra Secretary General Ahmad Muzani who said that human rights issue only come up every five years ahead of elections in order to bring down Prabowo's electability.

"Prabowo's party (Gerindra) said that HAM is HAM, HIM, HUM. This is clearly an insult, it is a huge insult for all of us", said Hastuti at the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) offices in Jakarta on Thursday July 27.

Hastuti also said that Prabowo, who in at the time was the commander of the Army's Special Forces (Kopassus), was the principle actor that has to be held accountable for the forced disappearance of pro-democracy in 1997-98. However, said Hastuti, Prabowo has never been tried in court for his sins.

"Prabowo is of course the main person, because he was the Kopassus commander, the person who was most responsible for the affair, who has never been tried, who is actually guilty but has never been tried in court", she said.

Hastuti also said she regrets the attitude of former PRD chairperson turned Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician Budiman Sudjatmiko who recently met with Prabowo.

"Now Budiman Sudjatmiko is ready to bend over backwards, ready to wash away the sins of a person who abducted his own comrades, that is something that is more than just hurtful", she said.

PDI-P politician scolds Sudjatmiko

Senior PDI-P politician Ribka Tjiptaning, who is also a former PRD activist, said that Sudjatmiko was not in his right mind when he held the meeting with Prabowo, who she sees as a human rights violator.

She criticised a statement by Budiman in which he claimed that he shared many similar views with Prabowo. "Yeah, for me it's like he was insane or taken the wrong medicine, if Budiman, someone of Budiman's stature talked like that", she said at the YLBHI offices.

Tjiptaning also admitted that she tried to contact Sudjatmiko to ask about his intentions in holding the meeting with the former Kopassus commander, but Sudjatmiko did not answer her call.

"I telephoned him but he didn't want to answer, I WhatsApp-ed him and he didn't want to respond, meaning that Budiman himself thinks that Mbak [Sister] Ning [Tjiptaning] must be angry", she said.

Nevertheless, Tjiptaning admitted that she was not surprised by Sudjatmiko's meeting with Prabowo because during the 2009 elections, he did not make an issue over election paraphernalia that smacked of Prabowo.

"When Mbak Mega [PDI-P Chairperson Megawati Sukarnoputri] ran [as a presidential candidate in 2009] with Prabowo [as her running mate], with Megapro [the election campaign slogan] before, right, I didn't want to wear a Megapro T-Shirt. But Budiman wore one. I asked Bud, don't you feel uncomfortable wearing [a T-shirt] with Prabowo on it? I'm for Mega for president", she said in conclusion.

Earlier on July 18, Sudjatmiko held a meeting with Prabowo at his residence on Jalan Kertanegara 4 in South Jakarta. At the time Sudjatmiko said that Indonesia needs to be led by the best person, and Prabowo represents one the best, because he considers Prabowo to be a nationalist figure.

"I hope that Pak [Mr] Prabowo is healthy, continues his tasks, completes his tasks, and I think that the Indonesian people deserve to get the best person, one of which is Pak Prabowo", said Sudjatmiko.

Meanwhile Prabowo said that he discussed many issues with Sudjatmiko, including in relation to his vision and mission. "Earlier we talked for quite a long time, discussed many things that we have in common, our visions, similar views", said Prabowo.


Between 1997 and 1998 as many as 23 pro-democracy activists were abducted by members of the Army's Special Forces (Kopassus). After extended periods of detention – in many cases the victims were severely tortured – most were released although 13 remain missing and are presumed dead. Former Kopassus commander Lieutenant General Prabowo Subianto who was at the time President Suharto's son-in-law, has admitted to ordering the abductions but denies ordering their torture and claims they were all released alive and well. In April 1999, 11 low-ranking Kopassus officers were tried by a military court for the kidnappings and given sentences of between a year and 22 months in prison, although six of them were allowed to remain in the army. Prabowo himself was discharged from the military for ordering the abductions but has never been tried in court.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Eks PRD Kritik Gerindra soal HAM HIM HUM: Itu Jelas Penghinaan".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20230727161541-32-978673/eks-prd-kritik-gerindra-soal-ham-him-hum-itu-jelas-penghinaa