Indonesia high court awards Suharto damages in Time defamation suit

Indonesia high court awards Suharto damages in Time defamation suit

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Indonesia [official website, in Bahasa Indonesian] has awarded former Indonesian President Haji Mohammad Suharto [CNN profile; JURIST news archive] the equivalent of $129 million in damages in Suharto’s defamation suit against Time Magazine [media website], according to a court spokesperson. The ruling was made on August 30. 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.

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 [website, in Indonesian], a state-funded academic scholar fund. Last week, prosecutors announced that the court-ordered settlement negotiations [JURIST report] had broken down, and that the government will instead proceed in court [JURIST report]. 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. AFP has more.