Tue, 22 Jul 2003

Prosecutors push for July 27 case

JAKARTA: Prosecutors asked the Central Jakarta District Court on Monday to continue investigating the attack on the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) headquarters on July 27, 1996, saying that the case had a strong legal basis.

Prosecutor Manik rejected an earlier claim by lawyers of five defendants -- three civilians and two military officers -- that the case was groundless.

"We demanded that the court allow us to continue with the case. The dossiers are legitimate," Manik told the court.

Last week, the defendants' lawyers urged the court to throw the case out, saying that the prosecutors failed to produce the "suspects in the attack of PDI headquarters on Jl. Diponegoro, Central Jakarta".

The lawyers claimed the three civilian defendants were actually victims, while the two military officers had merely followed orders.

Backed by military and police officers, hundreds of people attacked supporters of ousted PDI chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri, who tried to defend the headquarters after being forcibly replaced by her rival Suryadi.

Several top military and police officers, including former Jakarta Military Commander Lt. Gen. (ret) Sutiyoso, who is now Jakarta Governor, were responsible for the attack, which reportedly claimed dozens of lives. Hundreds of supporters also went missing during the incident and their whereabouts are still unknown. -- Antara