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Subject: Prabowo: Army star accused over kidnap of dissidents
Date: Mon, 10 Aug 1998 08:38:21 +0000

Monday, August 10, 1998


Army star accused over kidnap of dissidents


Lieutenant-General Prabowo Subianto, a rising star in Indonesia's army until the toppling of his father-in-law, former president Soeharto, takes the stand today in an investigation into political kidnappings that could end his career.

The head of a special military board investigating the abduction and torture of political activists in 1997 and early 1998 has already said the evidence points to Prabowo having ordered the kidnappings, Indonesian newspapers reported.

Prabowo may also be questioned by a team investigating reports that the two-day spree of looting, arson and rape that shook Jakarta in mid-May was incited by an organised group.

Yesterday's Merdeka newspaper quoted Mr Marzuki Darusman, chairman of the fact-finding team, as saying the high-ranking officers suspected of involvement in the abductions would also be questioned in the riot investigation.

Analysts say the armed forces (ABRI) chief, General Wiranto, is likely to purge Prabowo to improve the military's image and remove the threat of the ambitious lieutenant-general, still chafing at his transfer from leading the army's elite units to heading a military academy in Bandung, West Java.

Army sources say Prabowo was suspended from his job at the academy last week, pending the results of the investigation.

General Wiranto said last week a board was being set up to investigate Prabowo and two other senior officers, who have already been questioned.

"The testimony of the other officers showed Prabowo gave the instructions. He, therefore, must be held responsible," the head of the military board, General Subagyo Hadisiswoyo, was quoted as saying by Saturday's Jakarta Post newspaper.

The kidnappings of anti-Soeharto activists stretched from late last year until March, two months before a rising tide of protest and unrest swept Mr Soeharto from power amid a crippling economic crisis.

Prabowo was head of the Kopassus elite special forces when the kidnappings took place. General Wiranto said last month Kopassus had been involved in the kidnappings, prompting Prabowo to say he would take responsibility if there was proof his troops were involved.


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