Indonesia court rules case against ex-dictator Suharto should continue

[JURIST] A court in Indonesia [JURIST news archive] ruled Monday that the country's attorney general must reopen corruption charges against former President Suharto [CNN profile], saying that the charges should not have been dropped, but Attorney General Abdul Rahman Saleh said Monday that he would appeal the decision. Saleh dropped the charges [JURIST report] because of the former dictator's poor health [JURIST report], prompting a lawsuit by several human rights groups [JURIST report]. South Jakarta Court Judge Andi Samsan Nganro ruled Monday during a pretrial hearing that the attorney general did not follow the proper procedure to discontinue the case. One of the plaintiffs, the Advocacy Team for the Trial of Suharto, argued that the charges could be dropped only if the evidence was insufficient or if the defendant died. A spokesman for Saleh said that an appeal would be filed within a week and that the investigation will be suspended while the appeal is pending. Saleh's decision to suspend the prosecution drew criticism from several groups [JURIST report], including Transparency International Indonesia and Indonesian Corruption Watch [advocacy websites].

Suharto, ousted from power in 1998 amid violent protests against his three-decade dictatorship, was charged with misusing more than half a billion US dollars, including money from charitable foundations that he established. The former strongman, who is 84, has reportedly suffered permanent brain damage and cannot carry on a conversation. He was released from a hospital [BBC report] in May after treatment for intestinal bleeding following colon surgery. Reuters has more.

 

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