The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) today condemned the granting of a visa to visit the United States to serial human rights violator Prabowo Subianto.
ETAN urged that any visa be withdrawn and no weapons or training be promised to Indonesia.
Prabowo is currently the Minister of Defense of Indonesia and reportedly will be visiting the U.S. from October 15-19. He is scheduled to meet with U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
Prabowo is a super spreader of rights violations with ambitions to run Indonesia in the spirit of the former dictator Suharto.
"We are outraged, but not surprised that the Trump administration, which has embraced so many other authoritarian leaders, would now embrace Prabowo," said John M. Miller, Coordinator of ETAN.
"Prabowo is a super spreader of rights violations with ambitions to run Indonesia in the spirit of the former dictator Suharto," Miller added. In 2001, Prabowo asked a reporter rhetorically "Do I have the guts. Am I ready to be called a fascist dictator?"
For the past 20 years Prabowo has been banned from travel to the U.S. under laws that bar visas for serious violators of human rights. He is the ex-son-in-law of Indonesia's former dictator Suharto.
Probowo has been accused of involvement in countless rights violations in Timor-Leste as well as West Papua, Jakarta and elsewhere in Indonesia.
During the chaos of the political and economic crisis of 1997-1998, soldier's under Prabowo's command were responsible for kidnappings and murders of pro-democracy activists. Prabowo admitted to his role in these crimes, and he was discharged from the military. He has repeatedly supported anti-democratic reforms in Indonesia such as controlling the media and has expressed hostility and suspicion towards Indonesia's religious minorities. His appointment as Defence Minister, and his statements since taking office, show that he is interested in militarizing politics similar to under Suharto's dictatorship during the New Order.
After a brief period of political reform following the fall of Suharto in 1998, there has yet to be an accounting for the deaths, disappearances and other human rights crimes during the dictatorship or in the years since. Impunity for these and ongoing crimes is rampant. And while the Indonesian military may have formally withdrawn from the frontline of politics, it still enjoys considerable power and influence, which has been enhanced under the presidency of Joko "Jokowi" Widodo. Prabowo is one of a number of former military officers in the Jokowi government. Indonesia's security forces continue to violate human rights, especially in West Papua.
Prabowo has twice run for president of Indonesia, in 2014 and 2019, losing both times to the current president. He is reportedly interested in running again in 2024 and is widely considered the front runner.
Read the ETAN Backgrounder on Prabowo Subianto here: http://www.etan.org/news/2020/Prabowo%20backgrounder.htm
Contact: John M. Miller, 917-690-4391