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The BBC's Richard Galpin reports
"He is accused of embezzling $570m of state funds"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 8 August, 2000, 10:14 GMT 11:14 UK
Charges filed against Suharto
Suharto
Suharto's lawyers say he is too ill to stand trial
Prosecutors have filed corruption charges against disgraced former Indonesian President Suharto.

The AFP news agency said the indictment accused him of stealing $571m from the state during his 32-year rule.

Students demonstrating
Student demonstrations helped bring down Suharto
The judge heading the case, Lalu Mariun, said the hearing could start this month.

Judge Mariun said he hoped the court would convene after the annual session of the People's Consultative Assembly which ends on 18 August.

"Starting today we'll work as fast as possible," he added.

Prosecutors Barman Zahir, Umbu Lage Losara and Mochtar Arifin handed over two boxes and a suitcase filled with documents to the South Jakarta Court on Tuesday.

Mr Losara said the actual indictment was 45 pages long.

Mr Suharto is accused of stealing the money from charitable foundations he controlled during his presidency.

One prosecutor said 130 witnesses would be called to give testimony at the trial.

Pardon

Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid has pledged to pardon Mr Suharto if he is convicted.

Officials have said Mr Suharto could face up to life imprisonment if he is not pardonned.

Mr Wahid has said he believes the Suharto family may have amassed a fortune of up to $45bn.

Prosecutors have conceded that Mr Suharto might have embezzled far more than he has been charged with but they say they are concentrating on presenting a water-tight case.

Mr Suharto and his family have denied any wrongdoing.

The former president was forced to resign in May 1998 amid economic and social turmoil.

Mr Suharto, 79, suffered a stroke last year and his lawyers say he is too ill to stand trial. The attorney-general has said he is fit enough.

Activists have also demanded he be tried for human rights abuses.

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See also:

21 Jul 00 | Asia-Pacific
Suharto assets seized
15 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
Suharto promised pardon if cash returned
10 Apr 00 | Asia-Pacific
Doctors stop Suharto questioning
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