International brief ~ Indonesia criticized for dropping prosecution against Suharto
D. Wes Rist at 6:33 AM ET
[JURIST] Leading Monday's international brief, several civil and human rights groups have criticized the Indonesian government [official website in Bahasa Indonesian] for its refusal to prosecute [JURIST report] former Indonesian dictator General Suharto [BBC profile]. Public officials say that Suharto's continuing medical problems [JURIST report] keep him from being competent to stand trial, but civil rights groups contend that the government is refusing to follow through on promises to fight corruption by not prosecuting an individual alleged to have pilfered millions while in office. Transparency International Indonesia and Indonesian Corruption Watch [advocacy websites] have called on the government to proceed with the prosecution, even if it means trying Suharto in absentia. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Indonesia [JURIST news archive]. The Jakarta Post has local coverage.
In other international legal news ...
- Government officials in Zimbabwe [JURIST news archive] have announced that they will not repeal the oft-condemned Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act [PDF text], which opponents and civil rights groups claim effectively muzzles free press [HRW press release] in the south African nation. Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga told reporters that the law was constitutionally sound and that the government was happy with the impact the law had on journalism in Zimbabwe. He accused journalists of failing to even read the act and said that the law contained more than enough provisions to protect a free press. Under AIPPA, journalists, newspapers, and radio and television news programs must obtain a license from the government in order to operate and face jail time if they refuse to comply with government restrictions on information. ZimOnline has local coverage.
- The Arab Organization for Human Rights [advocacy website] criticized the penal system of Jordan [government website] on Sunday, saying that inmates were routinely subjected to torture. AOHR President Hani Dahleh told reporters that prisoners were routinely beaten and forced to confess to crimes and then taken off to trial without access to legal counsel. Dahleh claimed that cases studies by AOHR showed that Jordan was violating the terms of the UN Convention against Torture [text], to which Jordan is a signatory. IRIN News has more.
- Nepal's new Attorney-General Yagya Murti Banjade was sworn in on Monday by Nepal Supreme Court Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Poudel. The oath ceremony took place at the Supreme Court of Nepal [official website], a first in the country, as previous government oath ceremonies were always administered at the Royal Palace. The change in venue is seen as part of the emphasis of government control separate from the intervention of the nation's monarchy. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Nepal [JURIST news archive]. eKantipur.com has local coverage.
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