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Tuesday, 2 October, 2001, 18:39 GMT 19:39 UK
Tommy Suharto 'ready to surrender'
Policeman standing by a wanted poster of Tommy Suharto
Police dropped wanted posters across Jakarta
A day after Tommy Suharto's corruption conviction was overturned, his lawyer has said the fugitive son of Indonesia's former president was ready to give himself up.

Tommy Suharto, 39, has been on the run since last November when he failed to hand himself in for an 18-month prison sentence for his part in multi-million dollar land scam.


This case indicates the death of our legal system

Teten Masduki, Indonesian Corruption Watch
But on Monday, the Supreme Court ruled he had no part in the 1995 scam - sparking anger from anti-corruption activists and politicians.

Police still want to question Tommy - real name Hutomo Mandala Putra - over the killing of a judge who sentenced him, and over a spate of bombings in the capital, Jakarta.

On Tuesday his lawyer said Tommy was preparing to hand himself in, and intended to prove he was not involved in the murder or the bombings.

"He is ready to leave his hiding place," lawyer Elza Syarief said. "In my estimation, it will be before the end of October."

Bribery denied

Critics said Monday's ruling made a mockery of Indonesia's justice system, and about 150 students held a protest really near the home of former President Suharto.

The gun seized from a house belonging to a friend of Tommy Suharto's
Police believe Tommy owned the murder weapon that killed a judge
"This case indicates the death of our legal system," said Teten Masduki of the Indonesian Corruption Watch.

But Vice-President Hamzah Haz appealed for calm.

"We must respect that institution's decision," he told reporters.

Meanwhile, one of the three judges who overturned Tommy's conviction denied he had taken bribes from the wealthy Suharto family.

"If you can prove I accepted a bribe, report me to the attorney general," Supreme Court Deputy Chairman Muhamad Taufik told reporters.

Manhunt

Justice Taufik said new evidence had emerged to show Tommy was not part of his company's day-to-day operations at the time of the real estate scam it was involved in.

Police have been accused of bungling the search for Tommy Suharto despite a series of high-profile raids.

The search appeared to intensify in August, when police said they had found evidence to link Tommy to the 26 July assassination of judge Syafiuddin Kartasasmita, who had upheld his prison sentence on appeal. They said two suspects confessed that Tommy gave them firearms and paid them $11,600 (100 million rupiah) to carry out the drive-by shooting.

Former President Suharto was charged with embezzling $571m of state funds, but court officials ruled that he was unfit to face trial following a stroke.

See also:

01 Oct 01 | Asia-Pacific
Tommy Suharto conviction quashed
14 Aug 01 | Asia-Pacific
Police step up hunt for Tommy Suharto
10 Aug 01 | Asia-Pacific
Suharto son 'offers' to surrender
08 Aug 01 | Asia-Pacific
Suharto son wanted for $54,000
07 Aug 01 | Asia-Pacific
Suharto's son linked to killing
26 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
Tommy Suharto judge shot dead
30 Jan 01 | Asia-Pacific
Tommy Suharto's bank accounts frozen
16 Jan 01 | Asia-Pacific
Police break into Suharto bunker
07 Aug 01 | Asia-Pacific
Profile: Suharto's playboy son
29 Dec 00 | Asia-Pacific
Tommy Suharto escapes - again
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