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'Don't let human rights criminals lead this country again'

Tribune News - July 27, 2012

Bahri Kurniawan, Jakarta Ė Commemorating 16 years since the attack on the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) headquarters on July 27, 1996, banners and a billboard filled the former site of the PDI office on Jl. Diponegoro in Central Jakarta.

The billboard read: "Don't let the perpetrators of human rights crimes return to leading this country again...!!!", accompanied by a narration recalling the incident.

On July 24, 1996 a meeting was held at the Jakarta Military Command (Kodam Jaya) chaired by then Kodam Jaya chief of staff, Brigadier General Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, where a decision was taken to attack the Pro-Mega (Megawati Sukarnoputri) PDI office, which would then be taken over by Kodam Jaya.

The July 27 incident did not just end with the arrest and trial of Pro-Megawati PDI members, but had a broader impact with the arrest of many other pro-democracy activists.

Also displayed on the billboard are the names of officials alleged to have been involved in the attack, including among others, General Feisal Tanjung (then the chief of the Armed Forces), Police General Dibyo Widodo (National Police Chief), Syarwan Hamid (Military Chief of Staff for Social and Political Affairs), Suwarno Adi Wijaya (Military Assistant for Social and Political Affairs), Major General Soetoyo (Director General for Social and Political Affairs at the Home Affairs Ministry), Major General Yusuf Kertanegara (Assistant to the Armed Forces Chief of General Staff), Brigadier General Zaki Anwar Makarim (Armed Forces Intelligence Chief), Major General Sutiyoso (Jakarta Military Commander), Major General Hamami Nata (Jakarta Police Chief), Brigadier General Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (Jakarta Military Command Chief of Staff), Colonel Haryanto (Assistant Jakarta Military Command Chief of Staff), Joko Santoso (Jakarta Military Command Assistant for Social and Political Affairs), Colonel Tri Tamtomo (Infantry Brigade Commander I for Jakarta Security), Colonel Sudi Silalahi (private secretary to the Armed Forces Chief of Staff for Social and Political Affairs), Colonel Syamsiar Wangsadipraja (Personal Aide to the Armed Forces Chief of Staff for Social and Political Affairs), Colonel Yahya Secawirya (Personal Aide to the Armed Forces Chief of Staff for Social and Political Affairs), Colonel Rusli (Armed Forces Intelligence) Lieutenants Colonel Leonard (Armed Forces Intelligence), Lieutenant Colonel Budi Purnama (Jakarta Military Command), Police Colonel Indro Waskito (Jakarta Police Operational Control Command Center Chief), Lieutenant Colonel Zul Efendy (Central Jakarta District Military Commander), Police Lieutenant Colonel Abu Bakar (Jakarta District Police Chief) and Police Major Sunaryo (Mobile Brigade).

A red circle is drawn around the section where it cites the Jakarta Military Command Chief of Staff, now President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. According to a sympathiser who happened to be at the location, a commemoration of the July 27 incident will be held at the State Place. "My colleagues are currently at the Palace", they said.


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 Sukarnoputri'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 hoped that with Megawati's ascendancy to the presidency in 2002 those responsible would be held accountable however Megawati (who was reportedly was informed beforehand of the impending attack on the PDI headquarters) and other leading party figures have publicly distanced themselves from the issue and have refused to attend annual commemorations. Those who were eventually brought to trial in late 2003 were all 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.

[Peringati Tragedi 27 Juli, Spanduk Penuhi Eks Markas PDI - Tribunnews.com. Jumat, 27 Juli 2012. Translated by James Balowski.]

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