Thu, 11 Aug 1994

Wife searches for man taken by soldiers in '71

JAKARTA (JP): A woman turned up at the secretariat of the National Commission on Human Rights yesterday seeking help to track her husband, missing since 1971, after he was accused of being a communist and taken by the military.

Jaurah Muzakkir, 63 years, said that although the military cleared her husband, Mohammad Zachri Abdullah, of any communist links in 1978, she had not received any satisfactory answers about his fate.

The military said Zachri fled shortly after he was arrested. His wife now says that the military never gave any detailed explanation of how he managed to escape.

Zachri was a secretary for the Ogan Komering Ilir Regency Office in South Sumatra when he was picked up by the military because of allegations he had links to the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) which was outlawed in 1966.

His disappearance left Jaurah to raise his 10 children all by herself, a task made even more difficult because their father had been publicly branded as a communist.

"I and my 10 children have been suffering mentally and physically. Until today I haven't got any information about my missing husband," she said.

Despite the military's pronouncement in 1978 that Zachri was not involved with PKI, Jaurah said the public's impression that her husband was a communist remains to this day.

Jaurah met with the commission's Secretary-General Baharuddin Lopa yesterday. He gave a letter of reference which she can use when seeking help with her search for information from government and military agencies.

The woman was seeking three things in the meeting yesterday: A fuller explanation of how her husband escaped from the military, a wider public announcement stating that her husband was not a communist, and a guarantee of protection so that she and family will not be subjected to intimidation. (par)