World News

    Indonesian Torture Victim Disputes New Claim of Innocence

    A man who says he was a victim of torture during the regime of former Indonesian president Suharto is disputing a revelation from a former general that casts blame away from current presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto.

    Mugiyanto told VOA's Indonesian service Wednesday that the statement by former major general Kivlan Zen does not exonerate Prabowo, who is running for president this year.



    "Prabowo said that he kidnapped or arrested nine people, including me. According to me this is contrary to sound and humane thinking. Prabowo who at that time was head of the Kopassus and the Rose Team did not take us into protective custody. Prabowo interrogated and tortured us inhumanely. We were put in a situation where there was practically no boundary between living or dying. No one would have intervened if we were killed at that time."



    Mugiyanto was one of nine student activists who were released in 1998 after being tortured, allegedly by members of a military special forces unit known as the Rose Team, which fell under the command of then-lt. general Prabowo. Thirteen others who were detained by the unit have never been found.

    But former general Kivlan Zen this week caused a stir when he said the 13 missing were killed by a different group.



    "Soon after [they were freed by the Rose Team], they were rearrested unbeknownst to us. They could have been captured by double agents. They may be the enemies of (former president) Suharto and Prabowo."



    He did not provide further details, but said he is prepared to testify before the National Commission for Human Rights, known as Komnas HAM, or the attorney general's office.



    Human rights groups, while casting doubt on the claim, are urging Komnas HAM and the attorney general to summon Kivlan Zen for questioning.

    Haris Azhar, from the Commission for Mission People and Violent Acts, says it is vital for Komnas HAM and the attorney general to pursue justice.



    "It is important for the Attorney General's office and the National Commission of Human Rights to come to an agreement to reach a solution. It would be ridiculous for those two institutions would to be involved in administrative legalese and ignored the rights of the victims. If by the start of the (presidential) elections these two bodies still fail to take actions, then we can say that they are part of the forced disappearances."



    However, Komnas HAM Commissioner Nurkholis told VOA his agency considers its investigation final and that it is now in the hands of the attorney general's office, which has not commented on the new allegations.

    Prabowo, who is considered a leading candidate for president this year, was removed from his military post in 1998 after a council of generals found it likely that he knew about the kidnapping operations conducted by his special forces troops, known as Kopassus, in Indonesia.

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

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora