Mon, 11 Sep 2000

Priok bones back to relatives

JAKARTA (JP): The remains believed to be the victims of the 1984 Tanjung Priok incident were handed back to their relatives on Sunday during a solemn ceremony at the morgue of Cipto Mangunkusumo General Hospital in Central Jakarta.

The ceremony was marked by relief and tears on the part of the relatives when they received the remains of their loved ones from the joint team of forensic experts and members of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM).

"It's been 16 years of uncertainty, until the forensic team confirmed the identity of my husband," Siti Khotimah, wife of Tukimin, one of the victims, told reporters.

The decaying bones of the six victims were then brought for prayers and burial to Mengkok cemetery in Semper, North Jakarta.

The joint team disclosed their preliminary conclusions on Friday which found evidence of violence having been inflicted on the deceased persons, including a hole matching the size of a bullet found in Romli's skull.

"We will continue with the laboratory examination on the samples from the remains for the autopsy report, which will be used as evidence in court," said Djoko Sugianto, chairman of Komnas HAM, on Sunday.

"I hope the results will be ready next week," Budi Sampurna, a senior forensic expert from the hospital said.

He added that the team would start another exhumation of remains in Pondok Rangon cemetery in East Jakarta on Monday, where seven other victims are believed to have been buried.

There are a total of 23 victims of the Sept. 12, 1984 incident, which involved clashes between civilians and military personnel which allegedly erupted following emotionally-charged sermons by local preachers, who were reportedly criticizing the government. (07)