Released by the Overseas Office
Internatiomal Relations Department of thePRD.

Monday, 12 August 1996

Arrest of PRD Chairperson



On Sunday night, 11 August, 1996, military units arrested national leaders of the PRD (People's Democratic Party) in Bekasi (an industrial zone West of Jakarta) and a number of leaders of PRD's mass organisations in Depok (satellite city South of Jakarta). Those arrested were:

1. Budiman Sudjamitko, PRD Chairperson
2. Petrus H Hariyanto, PRD General Secretary
3. J. Kurniawan, Head of the PRD Organisational Development Department
4. I. Pranowo (Bowo), Secretary PPBI (Indonesian Centre for Labour Struggle)
5. Garda Sembiring, Chairperson of the Jabotabek branch of SMID (Student Solidarity for Indonesian Democracy)
6. Suroso, Secratary of the Jabotabek branch of SMID
7. Victor da Costa,
8. Beny, Member of the Jabotabek branch of SMID

Details of the arrest were announced by the head of the Armed Forces (ABRI) Political-Social office, Lieutenant General Sjarwan Hamid, the head of the ABRI information department, Brigadier General Amir Sjarifuddin and Intelligence officers from ABRI headquarters. The arrests became of members of PRD and its mass organisations became major new stories in Jakarta for two days in the dailies Terbit and Suara Pembaruaan. But no mention was made as to their whereabouts. PRD is currently trying to obtain the right to accompany them in the courts. It is strongly suspected that they are being detained by the intelligence agencies BIA or Bakorstanas.

The arrest of these PRD leaders does not mean that the struggle for democracy in Indonesia is lost. We are certain that the enthusiasm and courage of the people has not faded. Propaganda and terror by the regime continues. President Suharto himself, has stated that "society must guard against groups which act in the name of the people and democracy, because they will fracture national unity". Arrest, terror and integration is used against all pro-democratic activist in Indonesia. Once more, the people must be certain that all of the forms of propaganda and terror by the regime are only a mask to cover the regime's fear of people's power.

Te regime is in a state of panic and confusion. Ministers are taking different views. While those fawning ministers, are taking advantage of July 27 to "show-off" to Suharto. Within the military itself, there is news that the July 27 incident has already resulted in the sacking of high-ranking military officers, Major General Suyono, a provocator who was most eager to push the issue of communist involvement, the "new left", neo-communism and "organisations without form" (OTB). While these generals are discarded by Suharto, it must be remembered that others are indicating support for the democratic movement, such as Bambang T and Rudini.

Amist this confusion and panic in the face of this dynamism which has developed in society, those in power with wisdom are inviting all parties to discuss a solution to the problem. But the authorities which are "confused" and "panicking" are just the opposite. Instead they want to beat to death all movements struggling for democracy. Terror by propaganda of the "ghost of communism" only embarrass the government internationally. The world knows that the Cold War has ended 6 years ago. The US, which has become the pillar of anti-communism, considers we have entered the New World Order where issues of human rights, democracy and economic development have become the priority for all world nations. And this principle has given birth to a wave of democratisation everywhere. Poor Indonesia, which is so active in international forums, but cannot absorb positive goals from globalisation outside of the market and economy, that is democracy and human rights.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) is certain, that all the propaganda, terror and arrests of activist of the pro-democratic movement, will open peoples eye's to the character of the present authorities. Sooner or later, the peoples consciousness which faces a blocked path will flow with no power to stop it, even the most authoritarian power, History has taught and proven this truth.

In this atmosphere, PRD calls on all of its cadre, its mass organizationally, all of the Indonesian people: do not forsake those victims which have given themselves for the sovereignty of the people - do not submit to fear and tyranny.

Tighten our ranks, consolidate, produce leaflets, discuss, act on the national leadership's and oranisational instructions, ever more guard discipline, guard unity, help and protect one another, provide moral and organisational support and most importantly: BE WITH THE PEOPLE - TRUST THE PEOPLE - STRUGGLE WITH THE PEOPLE. There is no place which is truly safe, there is no place of calm, there is no belief as sincere a that given by the people.


Jakarta, August 12, 1996

I Gusti Agung Anom Astika
Education and Propaganda Department Head

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