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Indonesia: Possible prisoners of conscience / fear of torture

, Index number: ASA 21/020/1997

Victor Yasadhana, Haris Rusli, Nining, Adjie, Gusti, Nita, Gandung, Jhon, Rubi, Nuraini, Admo, Hikmah, Bambang, Waljiyah, Rubaidah, Tommy, Yudi, Kamal Al Baity, Susi Ifaty, Ima, Eka, Tutut, Gina, Danang: Some 24 students were arrested and several others injured when security forces violently broke up a demonstration in support of the ousted leader of the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI), Megawati Sukarnoputri, held in Yogyakarta, Central Java, on 1 April 1997. There is concern that those arrested may be at risk of torture or ill-treatment in custody, and that they are also possible prisoners of conscience.

EXTERNAL AI Index: ASA 21/20/97
EXTRA 48/97 Possible prisoners of conscience / Fear of torture 2 April 1997
INDONESIAVictor Yasadhana
Haris Rusli
Kamal Al Baity
Susi Ifaty
Some 24 students were arrested and several others injured when members of the
Indonesian security forces broke up a demonstration in Yogyakarta, Central
Java on 1 April 1997. According to one report, those arrested are detained
in Sleman District Military Command Centre, other reports suggest that they
are being held in police custody. Amnesty International fears that they are
at risk of ill-treatment or torture - the risk is particularly acute if they
are in military custody.
According to reports, the demonstration of about 300 people took place at 9am
on the campus of Gadja Mada University, Yogyakarta. The students were
demonstrating in support of the ousted leader of the Indonesian Democratic
Party (Partai Demokrasi Indonesia - PDI), Megawati Sukarnoputri, and were
calling for greater democracy and for a boycott of the election for Indonesia’s
House of Representatives due on 29 May. The students were threatening, or
had begun, a hunger-strike in support of their demands. The security forces
intervened to break up the demonstration, allegedly beating and stamping on
demonstrators as they did so.
There is no information to suggest that the demonstrators were engaged in any
violence and Amnesty International is concerned that they may have been arrested
solely for the peaceful expression of their beliefs.
Tension has been mounting in the run up to the May 29 Parliamentary elections.
Growing calls for political change inside the country have met with repression
from the government. Since January 1997 at least 17 people have been detained
in connection with their peaceful calls for an election boycott or for political
change. They include former parliamentarian Sri Bintang Pamungkas who was
detained on 5 March together with two of his colleagues from the unofficial
United Democratic Party of Indonesia (Partai Demokrasi Indonesia - PUDI) after
sending cards to celebrate the Moslem festival of Idul Fitri. The cards called
for the election to be boycotted and for President Suharto to be replaced.
All three are being held under the Anti-subversion Law which punishes subversion
with death or up to life imprisonment. Others have been arrested, and in some
cases charged or tried, for distributing pamphlets or putting up posters calling
for an election boycott and for criticising past elections.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail
letters in Bahasa Indonesia, English or your own language:
- seeking assurances from the government that none of those being held will
be subjected to ill-treatment or torture while in custody;
- asking for information on their exact whereabouts;
- calling for the immediate and unconditional release of any among them who
have been detained solely for the non-violent expression of their beliefs.
Military Commander Region IV/Diponegoro
(covers Central Java and Yogyakarta)
Brig. Gen Subagyo Hadi Siswoyo
Pangdam IV/Diponegoro
Semarang, Jawa Tengah
Telegrams: Pangdam IV/Diponegoro, Semarang, Indonesia
Salutation: Dear Brigadier General Subagyo Hadi Siswoyo
Chief of Police for Central Java
Brig. Gen. Harimas
Kapolda Jawa Tengah
Markas Besar Kepolisian
Semarang, Jawa Tengah
Telegrams: Kapolda Jawa Tengah, Semarang, Indonesia
Salutation: Dear Brigadier General Harimas
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Ali Alatas S.H
Meteri Luar Negeri
Jalan Medan Taman Pejambon No.6
Jakarta, Indonesia
and to diplomatic representatives of Indonesia accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 10 May 1997.

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