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Rights group visits Palace asking for clarification on Prabowo's promotion

CNN Indonesia - March 4, 2024

Jakarta – Representatives from the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) visited the office of the Ministry of State Secretariat at the Presidential Palace Complex in Jakarta on Monday March 4.

They handed over letter of request for a clarification on information about Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto – who is also set to become Indonesia's next president in October – being awarded the rank of honorary four-star general.

"In the letter we submitted, we questioned a number of things", said Kontras External Affairs Deputy Coordinator Andi Muhammad Rizaldi at the Presidential Palace complex on Monday.

First, they asked for details on documents related to the presidential decision on awarding Prabowo the honorary promotion. The request is in line with Law Number 14/2008 on Public Information Openness (KIP).

It is also in line with Law Number 20/2009 on Titles, Medals and Honors under Article 2(h) which mandates that the awarding of titles be done transparently, openly and can be controlled freely by the wider community.

"Why did we submit a request for this information? Because this is part of our demands to open access to information that should actually be able to be accessed by the public", he said

Second, according to Rizaldi, Kontras is also questioning the reasons for the government awarding the honorary rank to Prabowo. According to Kontras, Prabowo is not worthy of receiving this honorary rank when view from a number of aspects.

Kontras, continued Rizaldi, is questioning giving the rank to Pranowo because he is no longer an active TNI (Indonesian military) officer as proven by the 1998 Officers Honorary Council ruling number KEP/03/VIII/1998/DKP.

In the decision, explained Rizaldi, Prabowo was found guilty and proven to have committed several offences including having committed a criminal offense in the form of abducting and depriving other people of their freedom for which he was sentenced to an administrative punishment in the form of being dismissed from military service.

"The promotion also further thickens the walls of the impunity that is being maintained by the government", said Rizaldi.

Kontras, according to Rizaldi, considers giving the honorary titled to Prabowo as being a political transaction and based on legislation can be categorized as a violation of the law.

"So we think awarding an honorary title to Prabowo Subianto is none other than a political transaction [to benefit] Prabowo", he added.

Prabowo officially received a promotion to honorary four-star general from President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo during a TNI-Indonesian police leadership meeting in Cilangkap, East Jakarta, on Wednesday February 28.

Initially, [before being dismissed from the military in 1998] Prabowo held the rank of lieutenant general or three-star general. He now holds the rank of full general

The promotion was based on Presidential Decree Number 13/TNI/2024 dated February 21, 2024, on Awarding a Special Rank in the Form of Honorary TNI General.

President Widodo also revealed that awarding the honorary rank to Prabowo was a proposal from the TNI Commander General Agus Subiyanto.

The award was given to Prabowo as an affirmation of his dedication to the people, nation and state.

In addition to this, according to Widodo, the decision went through a verification process by the Board of Decorations and Honors, and was also in accordance with Law Number 20/2009. (khr/wis)


According to a document leaked in July 2014, which was a scanned copy of the official letter signed by members of the Indonesian military's (TNI) Officers Honorary Council (DKP) tasked with hearing the case of Prabowo's complicity in the abduction of pro-democracy activists in 1997-98, the former Special Forces (Kopassus) commander was also fired from his position due to insubordination and disregard for the military code. The DKP concluded that Prabowo had disgraced and disregarded the military system and committed a criminal offense and on August 21, 1998, dismissed him from military service. A summary of the document by the Jakarta Post can be viewed at http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/06/09/fresh-doubt-cast-prabowo-s-suitability-rule.html and an English translation and the images of the document can be viewed here: https://indonotes.wordpress.com/2014/06/15/the-verdict-on-prabowo-subianto-a-translation/.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "KontraS Datangi Istana, Minta Kejelasan soal Pangkat Jenderal Prabowo".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20240304165707-20-1070327/kontras-datangi-istana-minta-kejelasan-soal-pangkat-jenderal-prabow