Activist 'subjected to electric shocks'
January 9, 1999

The Sydney Morning Herald

Jakarta: A 28-year-old political activist testified at a court martial yesterday that he was subjected to repeated electric shocks after being abducted during the last months of the Soeharto regime.

Speaking as a witness at the trial of 11 members of the elite special forces unit, Kopassus, charged with abducting nine activists, Mr Neza Patria said he was subjected to the shocks during a three-day interrogation.

"They asked me if I knew Mega, Gus Dur, Benny Murdani ... Every time I answered no, I was submitted to shocks," said Mr Neza.

He was referring to Opposition politician Ms Megawati Sukarnoputri, Muslim leader Mr Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur) and retired military intelligence chief and Soeharto critic Mr Benny Murdani.

Mr Neza, one of three victims in the small courtroom packed with about 100 journalists, lawyers and observers, at first refused to give evidence, saying he wanted the military to first produce information on 13 missing activists.

The chief military judge, Colonel Santoso, told Mr Neza he would face legal action if he failed to testify. Colonel Santoso also rejected arguments put forward by the National Commission on Human Rights last week, which called for the court martial to be halted.

Citing a prosecution argument that the 11 had acted on their own out of concern for national security, the commission had said the trial appeared designed solely to shelter the military high command and make scapegoats out of the accused, seven of them junior officers.

Kopassus was commanded by Prabowo Subianto, a son-in-law of former president Soeharto, at the time of the abductions. He has since been dismissed from the military in connection with the kidnappings.

Mr Neza told the court that he and fellow activist Aan Rusdianto were grabbed by four men in plain clothes at night from the apartment they shared on March 13, frog-marched downstairs, blindfolded and manacled and driven to an unknown destination.

He said he was interrogated and tortured for three days, before being moved to an unknown place for one day, then spent three months in Jakarta's police headquarters before being released.

One person was killed when police opened fire on a crowd of about 2,000 rampaging protesters in Karawang, about 50 kilometres from the Indonesian capital, yesterday, a hospital nurse said.

Witnesses said police fired on the mob which was hurling stones at a police station and shops.

- Agence France-Presse