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Monday, 22 May, 2000, 14:56 GMT 15:56 UK
Suharto 'too ill' for questioning
Troops on guard by the presidential palace
Troops guard the presidential palace as students protest
State prosecutors interrogating Indonesia's former president Suharto over alleged corruption had to halt their questioning on Monday when he became too ill to continue.

"Investigators came prepared with 20 questions, but we had to stop at the 12th question," Mr Suharto's lawyer Juan Felix Tampubolon said.

"He became confused and could not comprehend the question," he said, adding that Mr Suharto's blood pressure had risen.

Mr Suharto, who suffered a stroke last year, has been accused of embezzling millions of dollars during his 32 years in power.


Students parade on a convoy of buses in Monday's protest
Students parade on a convoy of buses in Monday's protest
Prosecutors have been forced to stop questioning Mr Suharto twice before after his doctors protested he was too ill to testify.

Doctors monitor Mr Suharto's blood pressure during the interviews.

Prosecutors are focussing on presidential decrees that required civil servants to donate a portion of their salaries to three charitable foundations.

Mr Suharto, 78, is accused of misusing funds from the foundations to benefit his family and cronies.

Student protest

Hundreds of students held separate protests at the attorney general's office, the presidential palace and near Mr Suharto's residence on Monday, demanding the former president be dragged to court.

Attorney-General Marzuki Darusman assured demonstrators outside his office that he would move quickly to bring Mr Suharto to trial.

"Our intention is to bring the case to the court before August...it can be faster than that," Mr Marzuki told students outside his office.
Students protesting
Students protest outside the attorney-general's office

Mr Marzuki also threatened to resign if there were any political attempts to block him.

"If there are any political obstacles that block me, I will resign," he told the crowd, some of whom accused him of being too scared to continue with the case.

Mr Marzuki also warned the family of Mr Suharto that they would lose their police protection if they did not begin co-operating with the investigation.

Last week, Mr Marzuki said Mr Suharto would be interrogated twice a week.

Move

He also said the government would move Mr Suharto from his Menteng residence as a security measure.
Masked protestors outside Suharto's home
Masked protestors gatheroutside Suharto's home

The move was to avoid confrontation between students and security forces, he said.

Earlier this month, protests outside Mr Suharto's home turned violent, with police and students exchanging teargas and molotov cocktails.

Mr Suharto has been banned from leaving Indonesia, and prosecutors have been given leave to freeze his assets.

Prosecutors have already questioned two of his six children, son Bambang Trihatmojo and daughter Siti Hardijanti Rukmana.

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See also:

13 Apr 00 | Asia-Pacific
Suharto placed under 'city arrest'
10 Apr 00 | Asia-Pacific
Doctors stop Suharto questioning
31 Mar 00 | Asia-Pacific
Suharto: Shades of Pinochet?
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