Sat, 27 Mar 1999

UKI student takes ABRI to court over alleged beating

JAKARTA (JP): A female student of Indonesian Christian University (UKI) filed a lawsuit against Armed Forces (ABRI) Commander Gen. Wiranto and Jakarta Military Commander Maj. Gen. Djadja Suparman on Friday over alleged torture by soldiers.

In the lawsuit, filed at the East Jakarta District Court, Fera Yanti Silianita, who suffered a fractured skull after allegedly being beaten by soldiers in December, asked the court to order the two ABRI commanders to pay Rp 50 million (US$5,555) in material losses and Rp 100 billion in immaterial losses, the plaintiff's lawyer said.

Her lawyer, Jhonson Panjaitan of the Indonesian Student Movement Lawyers Team, said the Rp 50 million for material losses had been calculated in line with medical bills and other expenses incurred by Fera when she was treated between Dec. 17 and Feb. 17 at the university's hospital.

He said the plaintiff was also demanding immaterial losses since she and her family had been traumatized and were still troubled by the incident.

"Actually the immaterial losses, which include (compensation for) fear and other pains, cannot be precisely calculated. But the fact is that the plaintiff frequently suffers even until today," he said.

He said he hoped the case would be heard by the court next month.

"If we win the lawsuit, the compensation will be donated to the Indonesian student movement and help many other students who have been wounded by security personnel in a series of demonstrations lately," Johnson said.

Fera, a student of UKI's law school, said she still got headaches and had to have a medical checkup at the hospital once a week.

"Because of the injury to the back of my head, I now suffer a kind of light amnesia. I often forget what I have done or what I have planned," the 23-year-old student said.

Fera, who is a member of the City Forum student group, pledged to continue participating in antigovernment demonstrations by students. "I will never stop joining demonstrations."

She claims she was tortured when she and her friends were on their way by bus to their campus in Cawang, East Jakarta, at 8 p.m. after participating in a demonstration in front of the House of Representatives compound on Dec. 17.

A number of soldiers allegedly shot out one of the bus' tires and rushed onto the bus. She said they then beat the students, including herself, with their guns, and added that as a consequence she had to undergo surgery at the UKI hospital that night.

Fera's father, Frans Hitipeuw, said the ABRI chiefs should be held responsible for their subordinates' misconduct.

"If our case is defeated in court, we will take the case to the International Court," Frans said emotionally. (jun)