Tue, 30 May 2000

Police name 11 suspects in PDI HQ attack

JAKARTA (JP): The National Police Headquarters disclosed on Monday that its investigation of the attack on the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) headquarters on July 27, 1996 has been accomplished.

Speaking to reporters after the questioning of then Army Chief of Staff Gen. (ret) Raden Hartono, the last of the 190 people questioned, National Police Deputy Chief of Detectives for General Crimes Col. Makbul Padmanegara said that his office so far has named 11 suspects in the case.

"With the completion of our investigation, we will soon summon the seven dossiers of the 11 suspects to the prosecutors office," Makbul said.

All of the 11 suspects are civilians.

According to Makbul, it's beyond police authority to name military officers as suspects.

"We can only ask them to testify as witness. But we are going to give some input to the military commander, and the rest is up to National Military Police Headquarters to investigate further," he said.

When asked about the alleged role of then president Soeharto, Makbul said: "Based on witnesses' testimonies, there has been no hint of former president Soeharto's involvement in the incident.

According to witnesses, Soeharto only gave normative directions regarding the national security situation at that time," said Makbul.

He identified the suspects as former PDI chairman Soerjadi; former deputy chairman Alex Widya Siregar; former secretary- general Buttu Hutapea; party executive board members Romulus Sihombing and Harsoko Sudiro; party member Yonathan Marpaung; executive of Pemuda Pancasila youth organization Yorrys Raweyai; and four men -- M. Tanjung, Pratomo, Edi Kisworo and Rosyid -- dubbed as members of the Johar Baru group.

The four men were said to have hired local Johar Baru residents to join them in the attack.

All of the suspects, Makbul said, were charged with violation of Article 170 of the Law on Criminal Code about attacking and oppression, and Article 200 about deliberately damaging a building.

Article 170 carries a maximum sentence of nine years while Article 200 carries a maximum sentence of 15 years.

Makbul insisted that the National Police carried out the questioning and investigation of the case transparently and independently.

"This is good momentum to maintain law supremacy in the country," he said.

The 190 people questioned over the case comprised 92 civilians, 29 police personnel and 29 military officers.

The last witness, Hartono, arrived at the National Police Headquarters on Jl. Trunojoyo in South Jakarta on Monday at around 9.45 p.m. and left around 11.15 p.m.

Like Gen. (ret) Feisal Tanjung, then Indonesian Military Commander, who was questioned last Friday, Hartono refused to talk with the press.

"My lawyers will give the explanations," said the former minister of information, before getting into his Toyota Royal Crown and driving away.

According to his lawyer, Col. Agus B. Setiawan from the Indonesian Military Legal Affairs Department, police asked Hartono 20 questions.

"The substance was about the meeting at Soeharto's residence on Jl. Cendana and about the Rp 300 million that City Military Commander (Maj. Gen. Sutiyoso, now Jakarta Governor) borrowed from the Army chief of staff," he said.

Agus said Hartono admitted to having attended the Cendana meeting with several top ranking military officers one week before the incident. But, like Feisal, Hartono also said that the meeting did not involve any plan to take over the PDI headquarters.

As for the money, Sutiyoso initially proposed some Rp 500 million to Hartono's deputy for meal allowance for the security troops, deployed to secure Jakarta after the incident.

Hartono agreed to disburse Rp 300 million, which was later returned by Sutiyoso as the latter already had received money from Indonesian Military Headquarters, Agus said.

The July 1996 riot erupted after a group of supporters of PDI's splinter faction, lead by Soerjadi and backed by elements in the former Indonesian Armed Forces (ABRI), raided and took over the party headquarters from the supporters of toppled PDI leader Megawati Soekarnoputri.

Soerjadi replaced Megawati, now Vice President, in a government-sponsored congress in May 1996.

The headquarters takeover triggered mass unrest throughout the capital, resulting in the deaths of at least five people and injury to 149 others. Meanwhile, 23 people are reportedly still missing. (09)