Sat, 08 Apr 2000

Soeharto questioning to be resume Monday

JAKARTA (JP): State prosecutors failed on Friday to resume the questioning of former president Soeharto due to his illness, but set a new date for Monday.

Director of Corruption Affairs Chairul Imam said that the Attorney General's Office learned that the health of Soeharto, who is facing corruption charges, worsened on Wednesday and there was no indication that he could undergo the questioning on Friday.

"One of his lawyers called on Wednesday, informing that Soeharto's condition worsened following the questioning on Monday. He said that his client would be unable to endure the next questioning," Chairul said after a meeting with Attorney General Marzuki Darusman.

Rectifying his earlier statement that the questioning could resume without approval from both state-appointed doctors and Soeharto's medical team, Chairul said the questioning on Monday was subject to the joint medical team's considerations.

Chairul added that the Attorney General's Office chose to conduct the questioning at the suspect's residence to avoid discomfort caused by an unfamiliar place and lack of medical facilities which could hamper the questioning.

"We learned from the initial questioning that Soeharto's condition worsened when he felt uncomfortable. It does not matter where the questioning takes place, as long as it is successful," he said.

Chairul denied that his office treated the former ruler preferentially, saying that the state prosecutors were complying with suggestions from RSCM doctors.

The independent medical team reported that Soeharto was fit to face questioning, provided that he was accompanied by doctors. The doctors also said Soeharto could only react to or understand simple questions.

"Now we are arranging simple questions so that Soeharto can easily comprehend and answer them," Chairul added. (01)