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Tommy Suharto Will Not Appeal Murder Conviction - 2002-08-01

The son of Indonesia's former president said he will not appeal his conviction in a murder case. But Tommy Suharto hints there may be other legal steps he can take concerning his case.

The decision not to appeal came as a surprise in the high-profile case. Tommy Suharto's defense team walked out of the trial last week when the judges decided the read out the verdict without Suharto in court. He remained in his jail cell because he said he was sick.

Suharto was convicted last week of masterminding the murder of a Supreme Court judge in July 2000 and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. But he maintains his innocence.

He said, he is very sad and disappointed because he was looking for justice, but said he was made to appear guilty. Suharto said he is a victim of politics.

Suharto said the guilty verdict issued last week indicates that people are interfering with the legal process. He also said there is no longer any objectivity in his case.

But the case may not be over yet. Suharto said he will "seek other legal venues" for justice, although he did not elaborate on what those venues might be.

Two men gunned down Supreme Court Justice Syafuddin Kartasasmita in July 2001. The judge had sentenced Suharto to 18 months in prison for his corruption conviction. The gunmen already have been convicted and are serving prison sentences for the murder. Suharto went into hiding after the corruption trial and eluded authorities until November last year.

Suharto is the youngest son of Indonesia's former President Suharto, who ruled the country for more than three decades. Throughout that time, many in Indonesia considered the Suharto children to be above the law. Reform groups say they hope the conviction serves as a warning to others in Indonesia that no one can act with impunity.