INDEPENDENT NEWS

Concern Bali bombing may activate Suharto regime

Published: Mon 21 Oct 2002 03:57 PM
Concern that the Bali bombing may re-activate Suharto era repression
The Indonesia Human Rights Committee believes that the new anti-terrorism decree in Indonesia contains draconian powers that are ripe for abuse. This decree will be of dubious use in catching terrorists, but will strike a blow against the fragile democratic reforms, and embolden the unaccountable security forces. The new decree gives the authorities the power to detain detain people for 3 days on unsubtantiated allegations, and also for a judge to hold suspects for further interrogation without charge for up to six months.
"In Indonesia supporters of democratic reform fear that the new powers will see a return to practices under Suharto era when critics were arbitrarily arrested on charges of subversion, or 'spreading hate' against the government. Word is that the security forces have already drawn up a list of people to arrest."
" Human rights activists fear that new decree will be a shield to enable the security forces and the government to attack opponents - be they student activists in Jakarta or independence supporters in Aceh."
"Suharto has gone but the powerful military that bolstered his destructive regime remains. Terrorism against the people has been ongoing in West Papua, Maluku and Aceh. You only have to look at the farcical outcome of the human rights tribunal for East Timor (no military officer deemed responsible) to see the military in Indonesia still operates with impunity."
"Everyone wants to see the bombers brought to account and an end to terrorist attacks. But an indisciminate crackdown would be totally counterproductive. Repression will lead to renewed instability and create a fertile ground for the growth of extremist groups."
" New Zealand can help to bring the bombers to account by offering police and logistic support. But we should oppose the counterproductive and draconian features of this new decree."

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