The Jakarta Post
Rights activists have called for the presidential bid of the Gerindra Party's Prabowo Subianto to be reviewed following revelations that he oversaw the kidnapping of pro-democracy activists in 1998.
Prabowo's involvement in the abductions was confirmed by former Indonesian Armed Forces (ABRI) commander Gen. (ret.) Wiranto, whose Hanura Party joined the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P)-led coalition supporting presidential candidate Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo.
Wiranto, who was a member of the ABRI Officers Ethics Council (ABRI DKP) in 1998, on Thursday revealed that Prabowo, who was then Army's Special Forces (Kopassus) chief, ordered the kidnapping based on his own volition.
Setara Institute chairman Hendardi said that Wiranto's statements should be used as the impetus to evaluate Prabowo's candidacy.
'The General Elections Commission [KPU] has a responsibility to evaluate the eligibility of Prabowo as a candidate,' Hendardi said in a statement.
Setara also called on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to take measures against Prabowo.
'The onus is on the President to reveal the ABRI DKP document [concerning Prabowo's dismissal from the military service] and to act upon the House of Representatives' recommendation to establish a human rights court,' Hendardi said.
Yudhoyono was among the signatories of the ABRI DKP document, which issued a recommendation that Prabowo be dismissed from the military service for being complicit in the kidnapping, insubordination and disregard for the military code.
On Friday, Jokowi launched a thinly veiled attack on Prabowo by vowing to resolve the kidnapping case.
'The case must be resolved until everything is settled. Then, we can go to settlement through political reconciliation,' Jokowi told reporters in Surakarta, Central Java, on Friday.
Jokowi, however, declined to comment when asked if the settlement would involve Prabowo.
'The most important point is to clear up everything related to the case. I am optimistic [the case can be resolved] because many of those involved are still alive,' he said.
Also on Friday, Prabowo's campaign team held a press conference to respond to Wiranto's statement.
A member of Prabowo's campaign team and Golkar Party senior politician, Marwah Daud Ibrahim, displayed two official letters insisting that Prabowo was not involved in the abductions.
The two documents were Presidential Decree No. 62/ABRI/1998, which stated that Prabowo was honorably discharged and the second letter, which was written by then state secretary Muladi to the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), claiming Prabowo's innocence.
'These two letters have the highest authority, while the ABRI DKP document was only a recommendation,' Marwah said.
In spite of the claim, program director of human rights watchdog Imparsial, Al Araf, urged Komnas HAM to summon Prabowo and a number of retired military officials to gather information regarding the involuntary disappearances.
'This case is far from over. The whereabouts of 13 activists are still unknown. The President needs to establish an ad hoc court for the kidnapping. Komnas HAM must summon Prabowo and other officials,' he said.
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