Two political prisoners released

Issue 

Two political prisoners released

By Kylie Moon

JAKARTA — Two members of Indonesia's People's Democratic Party (PRD), Ignatius Putut Ariantoko and Victor Da Costa, were released on February 8 after spending 18 months in Cipinang Prison.

Ariantoko and Da Costa were arrested, along with other PRD members, following the July 27, 1996, riots in jakarta provoked by a military attack on followers of Megawati Sukarnoputri.

The military accused PRD members of causing the riots. Without any evidence to prove this charge, the courts used the PRD's "subversive" political program to jail PRD activists.

Da Costa was arrested on August 12, 1996, by the military's intelligence forces (PR). One day after his release, Da Costa told Green Left Weekly, "I was electrocuted and beaten. We were intimidated and terrorised physically and mentally for six days by the PR."

Da Costa said about the prison the PRD members were moved to afterwards: "The conditions inside the prison are good enough, so comrades are in good condition, and the guards are good also. We have access to newspapers, television and radio, so at least the prisoners can understand the political situation and discuss it with comrades.

"The New Order regime has not succeeded in demoralising us. Prison is where comrades can ripen and strengthen their commitment, although many are provoked and terrorised to try to force them to retreat. We have to keep on struggling until the government is brought down and the PRD's goal of democracy in Indonesia is fulfilled."