Free the political prisoners!


Although the Indonesian regime has freed some political prisoners since the fall of Suharto, more than 20 key political prisoners remain in jail. Eight are members of the People's Democratic Party (PRD). PRD chairperson Budiman Sujatmiko, Dita Sari, president of the Indonesian Centre for Working class Struggle (PPBI), PRD leader Astika Anon, PPBI general secretary Petrus Haryanto and student activists Garda Sembiring and Suroso are among them.

The leader of the East Timorese resistance, Xanana Gusmao, is under house arrest.

Dita Sari is Indonesia's only female political prisoner. She was arrested in 1996 for leading a 20,000-strong strike by workers in Surabaya demanding an increase in wages to US$4 a day. Although in jail when riots broke out in Jakarta in July 1996, Dita was blamed and sentenced to five years' jail.

For a long period Dita was held in solitary confinement. She remains defiant of the regime and continues the democratic struggle from behind bars.

Additionally three members of the PRD have been missing since May last year: Petrus Bima Anugerah, Herman Hendrawan and Suat. They were abducted by the military and tortured.

To highlight these members' plight, the PRD has nominated them for the presidential elections. Resistance calls for the immediate release of all political prisoners in Indonesia and demands that the military release information on the whereabouts of the disappeared students.