PRD leader Anom Astika released



PRD leader Anom Astika released

By Max Lane

JAKARTA — On July 29, Anom Astika, a leader of the radical People's Democratic Party (PRD), was released from prison so that he could receive medical treatment for problems exacerbated by the almost three years he has spent behind bars.

Anom was head of the PRD's education department when the Suharto government launched a crackdown on the PRD, blaming the party for the spontaneous rioting that occurred in July 1996, after a violent attack on the offices of Megawati Sukarnoputri's party. He was tried in 1997 and sentenced to six years in prison.

Several PRD leaders remain political prisoners. They include PRD president Budiman Sujatmiko, Petrus Haryanto and Garda Sembiring.

Anom was taken from Cipinang prison to a local office of the prosecutor-general for bureaucratic procedures. He was met by his parents, former co-prisoner Wilson, PRD members and supporters. Later he was taken back to Cipinang prison before being released. Anom must report regularly to the authorities while he is outside prison.

After his release, Anom and his parents went straight to the national office of the PRD for an emotional reunion with party comrades. Present was veteran human rights activist and lawyer Haji Princen.

While two activists held up PRD banners, Anom addressed his comments to "the Indonesian people who are oppressed and exploited and to the PRD masses whom I love".

He made three short statements: "First, struggle with the people, and never tire. Second, always fight those who oppress and exploit; fight to liberate the oppressed and exploited. Three, be loyal to comrades in struggle, always, forever, and struggle with the people." He ended with the call for a government of the workers and peasants.