RealNews

Indonesia Blasted Over Political Prisoners

Growing numbers of Indonesians are being jailed for their political views under “draconian” laws that call into question President Megawati Sukarnoputri’s commitment to political openness, two leading rights groups said. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said in a statement the convictions were an alarming development leading up to Indonesia’s first direct presidential election next year. In the aftermath of former autocrat Suharto’s downfall in 1998 following three decades of iron rule, all political prisoners were freed. Since then, the two organizations said at least 46 prisoners of conscience had been jailed, with 39 under Megawati, who took power in July 2001. “Under the veneer of democratization and away from the spotlight on the war on terror and military action in Aceh, a quietly growing trend is emerging of regressive policies aimed at curtailing political dissent in Indonesia,” Human Rights Watch said in a separate report accompanying the statement. Full Story

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