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Thursday, 3 August, 2000, 13:21 GMT 14:21 UK
Analysis: Suharto's promised pardon
Protesters call for Suharot to be brought to justice
There are regular protests outside Suharto's home
By regional analyst Clare Arthurs

Indonesia's former President Suharto has already been promised a pardon if found guilty of corruption.

President Abdurrahman Wahid's pledge reflects his recognition that Indonesia made significant economic and political gains under Mr Suharto's 32-year rule.

But the pardon also hinges on the Suharto family returning any ill-gotten gains to the state.

suharto in wheelchair after stroke
Suharto suffered a stroke last year
The charges against Mr Suharto allege that he took $400m from charities he controlled while in power.

The ailing former president has denied he has done anything wrong.

The pursuit of Mr Suharto is not just a response to the political and financial corruption which are endemic in Indonesia.

It is also a response to demands to uncover some of the country's hidden history of human rights abuses.

The investigation was taken up last year after Mr Suharto's successor, BJ Habibie, had failed to pursue it.

Tommy
Suharto's youngest son, Tommy, has been questioned
It has proceeded despite the difficulty of interviewing the aged politician, and in the face of bomb attacks on the attorney-general's office.

Last month the state began seizing assets, and some of Mr Suharto's children have been questioned.

The political and financial favouritism shown to Mr Suharto's family and friends have overshadowed his achievements.

Pressure

The military, which was intrinsic to his authoritarian rule, is also under pressure, with still-unresolved inquiries into human rights abuses, most recently in the provinces of Aceh and East Timor.

The fact that the Suharto investigation has focused only on his charities, has added to pressure on the government over human rights abuses.

When President Wahid reports next week on his first period in office to the highest legislative body, the People's Consultative Assembly, he needs to demonstrate progress in dealing with Mr Suharto.

But that will further highlight the lack of progress on charges against others from the Suharto era.

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See also:

03 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
Suharto faces corruption trial
21 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
Suharto 'has $45bn' hidden away
21 Jul 00 | Asia-Pacific
Suharto assets seized
15 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
Suharto promised pardon if cash returned
14 Oct 99 | Asia-Pacific
Suharto's son acquitted of corruption
11 Dec 98 | SPECIAL REPORT
Suharto's millions
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