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Time magazine to appeal $106M damages award in Suharto defamation suit

[JURIST] Time [media website] magazine announced Tuesday that it plans to appeal an August 30 decision [JURIST report] by the Supreme Court of Indonesia awarding former Indonesian President Haji Mohammad Suharto [CNN profile; JURIST news archive] $106 million in damages in Suharto’s defamation suit against the publication. Suharto sued Time over a 1999 article [text] that said Suharto had hidden billions of dollars in foreign banks. The Supreme Court overturned two lower court decisions against Suharto, ordering Time to pay damages and publish a formal apology in Indonesian newspapers and its own magazine. A lawyer for the magazine said that Time stands by the months of research conducted for the story, and that it will "take any legal measures available to defend freedom of the press." No further details of the appeal were given. AP has more.

Suharto is currently the subject of a civil lawsuit [JURIST report] brought by the Indonesian government for allegedly embezzling $440 million between 1974 and 1998 from the Yayasan Supersemar [education website, in Bahasa Indonesian], a state-funded academic scholar fund. Last week, prosecutors announced that the court-ordered settlement negotiations had broken down, and that the government will instead proceed in court [JURIST reports]. Suharto was ousted from power in 1998 amid violent protests against a 32-year dictatorship that used security forces to stifle dissent and allegedly embezzled billions of government funds.

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