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BBC's Richard Galpin in Jakarta
"The High Court judges have essentially drawn different conclusions from the results of the independent medical examination"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 8 November, 2000, 13:00 GMT
Court reopens Suharto case
Former president Suharto
The new ruling found Suharto could come to court
An appeals court in Indonesia has ruled that the corruption trial of former President Suharto should continue, overturning a district court ruling dismissing the case.

The Jakarta High Court found that the former president, now 79, was fit to stand trial.


Jakarta's High Court has revoked a ruling by the South Jakarta court...and ordered the court to reopen the trial

Chief Judge Sudarto
The charges against Mr Suharto were thrown out in September after the South Jakarta district court ruled he was too ill.

But state prosecutors challenged the court's conclusion that Mr Suharto's medical condition was permanent.

Protester
Students rioted after September's ruling
They said the results of a seven-hour medical examination indicated Mr Suharto could be produced in court.

The appeal court said the trial would proceed, even if the former leader failed to appear.

Mr Suharto is accused of misusing more than $550m from the tax-free charity foundations he ran, by channelling the money into the businesses of friends and family.

Turnaround

The South Jakarta court had dismissed the case after a panel of independent doctors said a series of strokes had left Mr Suharto brain damaged and too confused to answer the charges.

Suharto's empty chair at court
Suharto has failed to attend the hearings of his trial
The former president had failed to attend three hearings of the corruption case, citing medical reasons.

The ruling sparked violent riots on the streets of the capital.

Correspondents say this is a dramatic turnaround after months of legal wrangling in which it appeared that Mr Suharto and his team of defence lawyers had won.

Doctors
Doctors had told the district court Suharto was too ill to stand trial
The BBC correspondent in Jakarta, Richard Galpin, says it will be an important boost for the government, which has pledged to prosecute members of the former regime accused of corruption.

September's controversial ruling was strongly criticised by President Abdurrahman Wahid, who described it as "biased" and asked for an appeal to be heard by "clean" judges.

The new ruling comes at a time when Indonesian authorities are being mocked for their inability to arrest the former president's youngest son, Tommy Suharto, who has been sentenced to 18 months in a separate corruption trial.

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See also:

05 Oct 00 | Asia-Pacific
Prosecutors chase Suharto again
29 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Wahid angry over Suharto release
29 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Judges dismiss Suharto case
27 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Tommy Suharto convicted
15 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Profile: Suharto's playboy son
29 Sep 00 | Media reports
Press disbelief over Suharto decision
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