Thu, 03 Jul 2003

Man gets six months for insulting VP

SURAKATA, Central Java: Surakata District Court sentenced on Wednesday a 20-year-old man to six months in prison for insulting Vice President Hamzah Haz.

The defendant, Totok, of the People's Youth Movement (GPK), burned Hamzah's picture during a rally in front of the Sebelas Maret University here on Jan. 20.

"But the defendant has the right to appeal against the verdict. Please discuss the possibility with your lawyer," presiding judge Djaeni Abidin said.

In the past year, a number of students and activists have been jailed for "insulting or undermining the government", a move that many consider a return of an authoritarian regime.

However, the sentences have failed to curb the intensifying anti-government rallies across the country.--Antara