Subject: Rtrs: Indonesia sees scant chance of Suharto extradition
Date: Wed, 30 Dec 1998 16:01:32 +0000
Received from Joyo
Dec 30, 1998 Eastern
Indonesia sees scant chance of Suharto extradition
JAKARTA, Dec 30 (Reuters) - Indonesia said on Wednesday it saw little chance of disgraced former president Suharto being arrested and extradited.
``It would be difficult to arrest him and bring him to court somewhere overseas such as Portugal. This is not like Pinochet's case because it has to be proved whether he had committed any international crimes or not,'' Justice Minister Muladi told reporters before a cabinet meeting.
Former Chilean president Agusto Pinochet is living under police guard near London awaiting the outcome of a lengthy legal battle over whether he should be extradited to Spain to face trial on charges of torture and genocide during his 17-year rule.
Suharto is facing a legal probe in Indonesia into alleged corruption during his 32-year rule, and the attorney-general has said he will soon be named a suspect in alleged graft involving a tax-exempt national car project run by his youngest son.
A group of Portuguese lawyers has said it plans to file a request for the extradition of Suharto in connection with the deaths of civilians in the troubled territory of East Timor since it was invaded by Indonesia in 1975.
Portugal has not formally requested Suharto's extradition.
The United Nations never recognised Indonesia's 1976 annexation of East Timor and still regards Portugal, the territory's former colonial ruler, as the administering power.
Some estimates say up to 200,000 people died as a result of Indonesia's invasion and the crackdown and famine that followed.
Muladi said if Suharto were found guilty of violating criminal laws he must be tried in Indonesia rather than overseas.
Suharto resigned on May 21 amid a devastating economic crisis, mass student- led protests against his 32-year rule and an explosion of rioting in Jakarta that claimed almost 1,200 lives.
TAPOL, the Indonesia Human Rights Campaign, 25 Plovers Way, Alton Hampshire GU34 2JJ Tel/Fax: 1420 80153 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Defending victims of oppression in Indonesia, East Timor, West Papua and Aceh, 1973-1998