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Indonesia Says Too Early to Investigate Suharto Corruption


As Indonesians buried former President Suharto Monday, Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda said it was not appropriate to talk about legal proceedings against him on the day of his funeral.

Transparency International's Indonesian director, lawyer Todung Mulya Lubis, told Reuters Monday that authorities should still investigate corruption allegations against Mr. Suharto.

The anti-corruption group has estimated that Mr. Suharto stole between $15 billion and $35 billion. Lubis said Mr. Suharto's death should not derail legal efforts to retrieve state assets from his family and inner circle, and hold them to account.

Human rights groups have long accused Mr. Suharto of being responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people - an accusation he always denied.

New York-based Human Rights Watch says the former strongman's death provides an opportunity to remember his victims.

Criminal corruption charges against Mr. Suharto were dropped after doctors declared him too unhealthy to stand trial. A civil suit was still pending at time of his death.

Mr. Suharto stepped down during mass protests in 1998, but never stood trial for his alleged crimes.

The widow of Indonesia's first president, Sukarno, told the French news agency that she would never forgive Mr. Suharto. She said he was Indonesia's Pol Pot, referring to the late leader of Cambodia's genocidal Khmer Rouge.

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