News / Asia

Indonesia Investigates Leak of Document

FILE - Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto.
FILE - Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto.
Andy Lala
The president of Indonesia has asked the military to look into the leak of a document that details the 1998 military discharge of current presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto.

The secret military document, which was circulated on social media this week, cites Prabowo - then a lieutenant general leading special forces commandos - for ordering a team to detain anti-Suharto activists without approval by his superiors.

The document reveals that a military honor board, including current president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, recommended Prabowo be discharged from the military.

A military spokesman, General Fouad Basha, said in a VOA interview that the military will not comment on the document or the investigation because it needs to maintain its neutrality regarding politics.

“Yes, where has the leak come from? Who leaked it? This is basically the same as the recent issue involving army personnel going from house to house to direct people to vote for a certain candidate [Prabowo]," he said. "The unclear news, then, has become huge. It is, again, a matter of presidential candidates, be it Jokowi or Prabowo. I do not want to comment on anything about either of them."

Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro has assured the public the leak was not done by any party in the military.

Hendardi, the chairman of the pro-democracy SETARA Institute, says the document is important even if the military will not talk about it.

“This document is important because it can be used as a valid or appropriate reference to the public about a person who has become a candidate for president," he said. "So people should be given a proper reference for that."

Some activists who were detained said they were tortured while in custody. Thirteen activists disappeared in the final days of the Suharto dictatorship and have never been found.  

During a presidential debate this week, Prabowo was forced to spend much of his time defending himself against allegations of rights abuses.

The former general, who denies any wrongdoing, is trailing in national polls behind Jakarta governor Joko Widodo, known as “Jokowi.”

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Indonesian service.

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