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Monday, 10 April, 2000, 14:51 GMT 15:51 UK
Doctors stop Suharto questioning
Mr Suharto
Mr Suharto has suffered two strokes in recent years
Plans to question Indonesia's former president Suharto over corruption allegations have once again been delayed on grounds of ill health.

An independent medical team from the Cipto Mangunkusumo state hospital (RSCM), which examined Mr Suharto before the questioning was due to begin, concluded his health had deteriorated since last week, and that further questioning could lead to another stroke.


Suharto's lawyer
Tampubolon, one of Suharto's lawyers, hopes the investigation will end now

Mr Suharto's lawyers were delighted with the news. Their spokesman, Juan Felix Tampubolon, said it could spell the end of the investigation.

"Medically, it was not possible to interrogate Suharto," said Supardi Sudibyo, a member of the medical team.

The doctors' decision came after prosecutors had arrived at Mr Suharto's house in central Jakarta, where they waited for three hours without asking a single question.

Stroke

Mr Suharto, who resigned amid mass protests after 32 years in power in May 1998, suffered two strokes in recent years and finds it hard to speak.

His lawyers have all along tried to block the corruption inquiry by arguing their client is too sick to face intense questioning.
Students calsh with police
Students clashed with police when Suharto failed to appear at a corruption inquiry

Prosecutors decided to question Mr Suharto at home after he failed twice to turn up at the attorney general's office, citing poor health.

Last week's questioning had to be stopped after doctors said Mr Suharto's blood pressure and heart beat had become unstable.

However, a government-appointed doctor has already pronounced him fit enough to face questioning.

Mr Suharto and his family have been accused of corruptly amassing a multi-billion dollar fortune during his military-backed rule. He has denied any wrongdoing.

The attorney general has named Mr Suharto as a suspect in alleged corruption cases while he was in power, which means the former president can now be put on trial.

Ministers investigated

President Abdurrahman Wahid said in a newspaper report on Monday that three members of his cabinet under investigation for alleged corruption could resign soon.

"Nobody is above the law," Mr Wahid said in an interview with the Asian Wall Street Journal.

Mr Wahid had promised earlier that he would pardon Mr Suharto if found guilty by a court.

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See also:

31 Mar 00 | Asia-Pacific
Suharto: Shades of Pinochet?
03 Apr 00 | Asia-Pacific
Suharto health scare halts questioning
30 Mar 00 | Asia-Pacific
Suharto faces third summons
31 Mar 00 | Asia-Pacific
Indonesia delays new fuel prices
23 Mar 00 | Asia-Pacific
Suharto 'fit for questioning'
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