The Jakarta Post
The Democratic Party has said it would press ahead with its plan to sue Asia Sentinel even after the news site apologized and retracted its story the party believed had defamed its leader, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY).
The site issued an apology to SBY and his party on Thursday over an article published on Sept. 10 titled "Indonesia’s SBY Government: ‘Vast Criminal Conspiracy’”, written by the site’s editor and sole stockholder John Berthelsen.
The article, which was based on a 488-page investigation report filed with the Mauritian Supreme Court, accused the former president and his party of swindling US$12 billion from Indonesian taxpayers and laundering the money overseas.
“We’ve sent teams to Hong Kong and Mauritius to conduct investigations and gather materials [on the matter],” Democratic Party Law and Advocacy Division head Ferdinand Huahean said on Thursday as quoted by kompas.com.
He said the Hong Kong team was assigned to investigate traces of the site’s office as it was previously based there before it was moved to California, the United States. The team is also responsible for meeting the Hong Kong Press Council to report the “false” report.
Meanwhile, the team in Mauritius is assigned to visit the Supreme Court to check the investigation report filed for the trial between Weston Capital vs. the Deposit Insurance Corporation (LPS).
Ferdinand said the party had initially intended to send a team to the US to meet with Berthelsen but refrained after they successfully contacted him.
“That was when Berthelsen agreed to issue an apology and retracted his article,” he said, adding that the party still intends to sue the site, media outlets and people who have spread the article in Indonesia so it would deter people from spreading false information before checking for its accuracy. (ris/ahw)