Detention Status of Soeharto Changed to City Arrest

Detention status of Indonesian former president Soeharto changed from house arrest to city arrest, according to the South Jakarta District Court.

M. Yusuf, a clerk at the South Jakarta District Court, said the issuance of the new status was in anticipation of the beginning of Soeharto's corruption trial later this month.

"The new detention status for former president Soeharto was handed over to his family through one of his defense lawyers O.C. Kaligis earlier Wednesday," he said.

The decree on the defendant's new detention status was signed by the head of the South Jakarta District Court Lalu Mariyun on Tuesday.

"The city arrest status, valid for 30 days, became effective on August 3, 2000," Yusuf was quoted by the Jakarta Post Thursday as saying.

The decree automatically nullified a previous decree, issued by the assistant for special crimes investigation at the Jakarta Prosecutor's Office Andi Syarifuddin on August 3, 2000, which put the former strongman under house arrest. This decree was to have been valid until August 22.

The South Jakarta District Court received the dossiers on Soeharto on Tuesday, but has yet to decide on the schedule or venue for the trial.

Lalu Mariyun hinted the initial hearing would be held after the August 18 completion of the ongoing annual session of the People's Consultative Assembly.

Mariyun repeated that the court had yet to decide on a venue for the trial, but insisted it would be held within the court's jurisdiction.

Soeharto, 79, is accused of having misused 1.4 trillion rupiah (150 million US dollars) and 416 million US dollars of state funds, allegedly amassed through his seven tax-free charitable foundations.

Soeharto was forced to stepped down from his presidential office in May 1998 following an economic and political crisis in the country.

People's Daily Online ---