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Megawati Names Attorney General


Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri has named a new attorney general - career prosecutor Muhamad Abdurrachman. But some human rights activists have criticized Ms. Megawati's choice.

In a speech after the ceremony, President Megawati said Mr. Abdurrachman has his work cut out for him - not only in tackling corruption, but also in restoring the Indonesian people's faith in the attorney general's office. President Megawati says her wish is to motivate the attorney general's office to work to correct its bad reputation with the Indonesian people.

Mr. Abdurrachman was named a week after President Megawati installed the rest of her 31-member cabinet. She was elected president by Indonesia's People's Consultative Assembly three weeks ago, replacing Abdurrahman Wahid.

The selection of Mr. Abdurrachman won praise from Indonesia's Speaker of Parliament Akbar Tanjung. He says he agrees with the priorities set out by President Megawati. "I think the president already mentioned that the first one - to reorganize the internal of the office of the attorney general and the second is to improve the achievement of the attorney general office," Mr. Tanjung says.

Mr. Abdurrachman has worked in the attorney general's office under previous administrations. Some human rights groups say that is a strike against him. They say the attorney general's office has failed to clamp down on government corruption because corruption is also rife within the ranks of prosecutors, themselves. Therefore, human rights activists say the office needs to be overhauled by someone from the outside.

Previous appointees have tried - but failed - to prosecute Indonesians accused of massive graft, including former President Suharto and his family. Mr. Suharto's son, Tommy, was convicted for graft months ago, but has as yet to be apprehended.

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