Tue, 15 Jul 2003

'PDI trial dossier fabricated, won't find those responsible'

M. Taufiqurrahman, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Marked with protests from victims of an attack on the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) headquarters in 1996, the trial against the alleged attackers was once again adjourned on Monday after the defendants' lawyers contended that the dossiers were flawed.

Lawyers for the five defendants -- three civilians and two military officers -- demanded that the court free them since the dossiers failed to identify those responsible for the attack.

"Details in the dossier have merely been fabricated to cover up the real truth of who was really responsible for the attack," said Berman Sitompul, one of civilian defendants' lawyers.

Berman claimed that the three civilian defendants -- Mochammad Tanjung, Jonathan Marpaung Panahatan and Rahimmi Ilyas -- were not involved in the attack that took place on July 27, 1996.

He said that rather than being the perpetrators of the attack, the defendants were victims who were taken against their will to the PDI office at Jl. Diponegoro 58, Central Jakarta.

"They were transported by truck to the crime scene and later became involved in a clash. In fact, they sustained severe injuries from stones pelted by the crowd," he said.

Besides the civilian defendants, the military defendants also asked the court to release them, saying they were on duty upon the orders of their superiors.

Yan Juanda, lawyer for two defendants from the military -- Col. (ret) Budi Purnomo and First Insp. Budi Purnomo -- said the dossier was incomplete as it lacked authorization from their military superiors, who participated in an investigation for the case.

"Authorization from the military is necessary because both defendants were military officers at the time. Without it this court is not authorized to try them," he told a hearing at the Central Jakarta District Court.

The July 27 incident occurred after then president Soeharto outlawed public speeches given by opposition leaders at the PDI headquarters. He then gave his blessings to Soerjadi -- who had ousted Megawati Soekarnoputri as PDI chairperson in a government- back congress -- to remove Megawati's supporters from the headquarters with police and military support.

Dozens of PDI supporters reportedly died in the attack and many others went missing.

A number of former military and police officials have been questioned over the incident. They include former military chief Gen. (ret) Feisal Tanjung, chief of military sociopolitical affairs Syarwan Hamid, city police chief Maj. Gen. Hamami Nata and Jakarta Army Commander Lt. Gen. (ret) Sutiyoso, who is presently Jakarta governor.

However, none of the military and police officials have ever been brought to court for their alleged complicity in the attack.