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Senin, 02 November 2009

SBY wriggles; protests to hit streets

Jakarta ; President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Sunday discussed with several national figures a case involving two leaders of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), with the public readying to take to the streets

Late on Sunday, Yudhoyono spoke with University of Indonesia law professor Hikmahanto Juwana, Islamic State University rector Komarudin Hidayat, Transparency International secretary-general Teten Masduki and Paramadina University rector Anies Baswedan, as support for the KPK deputy chairmen Bibit Samad Rianto and Chandra Hamzah continued to mount, and translated into street rallies today.

"We proposed to the President to establish an independent team to review the facts and articles used to charge Pak Bibit and Chandra," Hikmahanto said after the meeting.

Coordinating Minister for Legal and Political Affairs Djoko Suyanto said the President would respond to the suggestion.

Meanwhile, thousands of members of the Cicak (Love Indonesia, Love the KPK) movement and other civil society groups were planning to stage a rally at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in Central Jakarta today. They will be giving out black ribbons to people as a symbol of support for the two KPK deputies, Bibit Samad Rianto and Chandra M. Hamzah, who were taken into police custody last Thursday.

“The police and the President still won’t listen to the people’s plea. So it’s high time we take to the streets,” Illian Deta Sari from Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW), a member of Cicak, said Sunday.

Bibit and Chandra were declared suspects on Sept. 15 for alleged abuse-of-power and bribery. Public speculation that the two KPK officials were being criminalized was recently backed with a widely-published transcript of voice recordings of plans by police and the Attorney General’s Office to fabricate evidence to frame the pair in criminal cases.

Besides high-ranking police and AGO officials, the recordings, set to be played before the Constitutional Court on Tuesday, also mention Yudhoyono.

Many have expressed hopes that playing the recording in court will be recognized as a police attempt to criminalise the KPK officials.

Many figures have demanded both National Police chief Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri and his chief of detectives Comr. Gen. Susno Duadji, often mentioned in the recordings, to resign for unprofessional conduct.

Illian said the President seemed to be “washing his hands” of the case.

Yudhoyono had previously stated his stance, saying he would not interfere with police investigations and supported the police’s right to arrest suspects it believed had broken the law.

The fiasco surrounding the case was the President's fault, Setara Institute director Hendardi said.

Emerson Yuntho from ICW said his organization, along with several other civil society groups would push for the impeachment of the President through the legislative body.

Voicing similar warnings against the President on possible people power similar to that of the 1998 mass demonstrations against Soeharto, and 1986 Philippine movement against Ferdinand Marcos, Hikmahanto earlier said Yudhoyono should not play down the public support for Bibit and Chandra.

“If the President fails to contain this support, it has the potential to become massive,” he said.

Public support for Bibit and Chandra continues to grow after the pair's arrest. As of Sunday evening, the number of people who had joined “The move of 1,000,000 Facebook Users to Support Chandra Hamzah and Bibit Samad Rianto”, which was set up Thursday, has reached more than 231,000.

Members of the Islamic Students Association are also planning rallies in front of police offices in various parts of the country. In Jakarta, protests will take place in front of the National Police headquarters in South Jakarta.

Presidential legal advisor Denny Indrayana said, "Looking at the claims investigators used to arrest Bibit and Chandra, it is not surprising how this has caused doubts among the public

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