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Subject: Two 1965 prisoners in hospital:de Araujo pleads for their release
Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 18:30:31 +0100 (BST)

TAPOL Report, 24 July 1998

According to information just received from Jakarta, two of the men who were convicted in 1970s for alleged involvement in the events of 1965 have been rushed to hospital this week from Cipinang Prison, Jakarta.

One is Asep Suryaman who has been under sentence of death since 1975 after being arrested in 1971. Although our information until now indicated that he was in reasonably good health, he has been taken to hospital after suffering a heart attack.

The other is Colonel Latief, a close associate of Suharto's in the pre-1965 days. Latief suffered a stroke last year and has not been able to speak coherently ever since. He was seriously injured when he was arrested in October 1965. He has been taken to hospital for a prostat operation. Latief is serving a life sentence. Years ago, Suharto refused to have his sentence commuted to a fixed-term sentence, meaning that his chances of release are nil.

There are altogether thirteen men still being held in connection with the events of 1965 which were allegedly connected with the Indonesian Communist Party which was banned soon after Suharto took power in October 1965. Four are under sentence of death and the others are serving life sentences.

Many pleas have been made for them to be released on humanitarian grounds because of their age, because of the length of time they have already been kept in custody and because most of them are suffering from a variety of ailments.

Minister of Justice Muladi who is in overall charge of the release programme about which so much has been reported recently, has made it clear that these men will not be among those to be released. The Habibie Government like that of its predecessor has shown no understanding of the inhumanity of holding these men for such long period.

East Timorese student leader Fernando de Araujo, on a visit to London this week, made a strong plea on behalf of these elderly and ailing men, when he met a senior official of the Foreign Office in London this morning. He described their continued imprisonment as 'inhumane' and 'inexcusable' and told Martin Hill, head of the Indonesia, Vietnam and Philippines section of the SEAsian Divison, that of all the prisoners deserving of immediate attention and release were these thirteen prisoners.

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