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Friday, 26 July, 2002, 12:46 GMT 13:46 UK
The trials of Tommy
Tommy Suharto in court
From a life of privilege to the dock: Tommy Suharto
Tommy Suharto's life has never been ordinary. But in the last two years he has gone from being a playboy son of a dictator to a prison inmate facing trial for murder.

BBC News Online explains how it happened.

September 2000: A higher court found Tommy Suharto - also known as Hutomo Mandala Putra - guilty of corruption charges, deciding he was criminally involved in a 1995 land-swap deal involving government property which caused losses to the state of about $11m.

Tommy Suharto
Suharto's youngest son became a successful businessman

The accompanying sentence of 18 months in prison handed down by Supreme Court Judge Syafiuddin Kartasasmita was to change his life, though many still doubted that former President Suharto's son would see the inside of a jail cell.

October 2000: Tommy Suharto met Judge Kartasasmita, allegedly to ask for the conviction to be overturned and his sentence waived.

After being turned down, Tommy twice met then-President Abdurahhman Wahid to ask for a pardon. After one of the meetings, he says he paid a presidential aide 15 billion rupiah (now $1.7m) on the understanding it would help his plea.

Former President Suharto
Suharto's family was rich and protected during his 32-year rule
November 2000:Requests for a pardon were rejected, prompting Tommy to go on the run. His lawyers, however, claimed he did not turn up to appointments because his paperwork was not ready.

Reports at the time said authorities seemed reluctant to declare him a fugitive but he was eventually made a wanted man.

December 2000: Police caught up with Tommy and arrested him in East Java.

But he escaped after he told police he had incriminating evidence against President Wahid. Officers left him alone while they checked with the president. When they returned, Tommy was gone.

Wanted poster of Tommy Suharto, July 2001
Police said Tommy used a fake ID card while on the run
January 2001: Believing that he had returned to Jakarta, police smashed their way into what they said was a bunker under former President Suharto's home, looking for Tommy.

He was not there, but stayed on the police fugitive lists.

26 July 2001: Judge Kartasasmita was gunned down in broad daylight. He was shot by two men on a motorbike in a Jakarta street in what appeared to be a professional assassination.

7 August 2001: Tommy Suharto, who had stormed back into the headlines as one of the most famous people to be convicted by Kartasasmita, was named as chief suspect in the killing.

August 2001: Nationwide manhunts were relaunched by police after urging by the country's new President, Megawati Sukarnoputri.

October 2001: The Supreme Court overturned Tommy's corruption conviction from Kartasasmita in a highly controversial move. But Tommy stayed on the run rather than appear in person to sign documents which would clear his convict status.

Tommy Suharto being arrested
Tommy Suharto put up no resistance when arrested again
November 28 2001: Police finally caught and held onto Tommy who was said to have offered no resistance when officers woke him in a Jakarta house to arrest him.

But suspicions of preferential treatment again caused anger in Indonesia when police revealed that Tommy slept in a spare office, not a cell, and that he was not required to wear prison uniform.

7 March 2002: Murder charges were laid.

20 March 2002: Tommy's trial opened in a media frenzy with what the BBC correspondent called an electric atmosphere in the courtroom where there was a sight many had believed impossible - a Suharto in the dock.

Tommy Suharto in court
Even after he was arrested, Tommy received preferential treatment
May 2002: The two assassins, said to have been hired by Tommy, were found guilty of the judge's murder and jailed for life.

26 June 2002: Tommy took the stand to deny officially that he had ordered Kartasasmita's killing.

15 July 2002: Prosecutors asked the five judges hearing the case to jail Tommy for 15 years. His alleged crime carried maximum sentences of execution, or life imprisonment.

26 July 2002: Tommy was found guilty of murder and weapons possession.

See also:

25 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
25 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
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