Fri, 24 Nov 2000

Nine top officers named suspects

JAKARTA (JP): After a series of long investigations, police named nine high-ranking military and police officers on Thursday as suspects in the violent takeover of the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) headquarters in Central Jakarta in 1996.

National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Saleh Saaf said the suspects were top officers at the time, including former chief of the then Indonesian Armed Forces (ABRI) Sociopolitical Affairs Lt. Gen. (ret) Syarwan Hamid, former Jakarta Military commander Lt. Gen. (ret) Sutiyoso, now governor of Jakarta, former chief of the Armed Forces Intelligence (BIA) Maj. Gen. Zacky Anwar Makarim and former Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. Hamami Nata.

The list also names former Central Jakarta Police chief Brig. Gen. Aboebakar Nataprawira and other senior Jakarta Police officers at the time, namely Insp. Gen F.X. Soemardi and Brig. Gen. Indro Waskito.

The military officers include Maj. Gen. Tri Tamtomo and former assistant at the Army Intelligence Body (BIA) Brig. Gen. (ret) Syamsiar.

However, Saleh did not explain the suspects' roles or why the suspects were not in custody at the police detention center.

"We'll see," he said.

Saleh said a joint military/police team investigating the case had summoned Syarwan and Sutiyoso for questioning earlier.

"But the two failed to answer the summons," he said.

Saleh's announcement was the first official statement to name the senior security officers as suspects in the July 27, 1996 incident.

A group of supporters of PDI's splinter faction, backed by elements of ABRI, raided and took over the party's headquarters from the loyalists of ousted PDI leader Megawati Soekarnoputri.

A ministerial coordination meeting on politics and security affairs, which was held two days before the bloody attack, concluded that the ongoing free speech forum at the headquarters should be stopped since it disturbed public order.

The takeover triggered unrest throughout Central Jakarta on the same day, resulting in the deaths of at least five people. Twenty-three people are still missing.

Saleh said there was a total of 11 high-ranking and middle- ranking military officers and seven police officers who were named suspects in the case.

"The officers are being charged with violating the Army Emergency Law," Saleh said. (jaw)