News / Asia

Indonesian Presidential Candidate Faces Renewed Human Rights Abuse Allegations

Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto delivers a speech during a campaign rally in Makassar, Sulawesi island, June 17, 2014.
Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto delivers a speech during a campaign rally in Makassar, Sulawesi island, June 17, 2014.
Andy Lala
Allegations that Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto committed human rights abuses escalated Thursday, as his former military boss released details of an investigation into the kidnappings of activists during a civilian uprising in the late 1990s.

Retired military chief Wiranto, who backs Prabowo's top political rival, said in a televised news conference Thursday that he discharged Prabowo from his position as lieutenant general after an internal military investigation showed he ordered the arrests of 23 activists, 13 of whom remain missing. One was found dead.

“The DKP [Officers Honorary Council] that I formed found that Lieutenant General Prabowo, who then served as Commander of the Army Strategic Reserve Command, was implicated in the kidnapping cases. Therefore, based on the results of the investigation of the 1998 abduction cases, the DKP recommended that the Commander of the Army Strategic Reserve Command be discharged from military service," he said.

Wiranto, who denied that he ordered Prabowo to arrest student activists, now heads a small political party that supports Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, who is first in national polling ahead of the election scheduled for July 9.

Haris Azhar, coordinator of the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence, or KontraS, told VOA there was a need in Indonesia to address long-standing allegations of abuse because the legal process "did not work" with Prabowo.

"It increasingly shows the urgency for us as a nation to resolve the issue of gross human rights violations, in this case the kidnapping of activists. It also shows the reluctance of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, as well as the Attorney General to resolve this case," said Haris.

In a recent televised debate with Widodo, Prabowo said his "conscience is clear" with regard to the issue.

The Indonesian attorney general's office has yet to act on a 2006 investigation by a human rights commission that included personal accounts of torture by Prabowo's unit.

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

You May Like

Video Egyptian Journalists Call for Press Freedom

Despite release of al-Jazeera journalists and others, Egyptian Journalist Syndicate says some remain imprisoned More

Turkey Survey Indicates Traditional Distrusts, Shift to the West

Comprehensive public opinion survey also found a large majority of those interviewed distrust all countries other than country’s neighbor, Azerbaijan More

Pakistan Court Upholds Death Sentence in Blasphemy Killing

Highest court upholds sentence of Mumtaz Qadri convicted of 2011 killing a provincial governor for criticizing country’s controversial blasphemy law More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Ahmad delon from: Indonesia
June 27, 2014 2:27 PM
Almost all supporters prabowo will never care about the USA condemnation of human rights violations committed by prabowo ,because they deem just prabowo who dared oppose all policies USA.even according to their rules of human rights is made ​​in USA and are only used as a tool by the USA to colonize other countries.that's the opinion of all supporters of human rights prabowo

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making a Minti
October 07, 2015 4:17 AM
While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video Self-Driving Cars Getting Closer

We are at the dawn of the robotic car age and should start getting used to seeing self-driving cars, at least on highways. Car and truck manufacturers are now running a tight race to see who will be the first to hit the street, while some taxicab companies are already planning to upgrade their fleets. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Clinton Seeks to Boost Image Before Upcoming Debate

The five announced Democratic party presidential contenders meet in their first debate next Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton continues to lead the Democratic field, but she is getting a stronger-than-expected challenge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

Video Music Brings Generations Together

When musicians over the age of 50 headline a rock concert, you expect to see baby boomer fans in the audience. Boomer rock stars have boomer fans. Millennial rock stars have millennial fans. But this isn’t always the case. Take the Lockn’ Music festival which took place in mid-September in rural Arrington, Virginia. Here, Jacquelyn de Phillips discovered two generations of people who are considered quite different in the outside world, spending 4 days together in music-loving harmony.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video South Carolina Reels Under Worst-ever Flooding

South Carolina is reeling from the worst flooding in recorded history that forced residents from their homes and left thousands without drinking water and electricity. Parts of the state, including the capital, Columbia, received about 60 centimeters of rain in just a couple of days. Authorities warn that the end of rain does not mean the end of danger, as it will take days for the water to recede. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs