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Thursday, 15 August, 2002, 06:34 GMT 07:34 UK
Tommy Suharto moved to prison isle
Tommy Suharto walks with a prison guard
Tommy Suharto was taken by helicopter to his new cell
The son of Indonesia's former dictator has been taken out of his carpeted cell and transferred to an infamous detention centre.

The authorities moved Tommy Suharto from Jakarta's Cipinang jail - where his air-conditioned cell had a garden view and television - to Batu prison on Nusakambangan island off Java.


Tommy has the ability and means to escape and therefore must be transferred to a maximum security prison

Justice Minister Yusril Ihza Mahendra

Tommy, whose real name is Hutomo Mandala Putra, was sentenced to 15 years in jail for masterminding the murder of a Supreme Court judge, but there had been allegations of preferential treatment at his prison.

Officials said they moved him for security reasons to Batu, which is known as the Indonesian equivalent of the notorious US prison on Alcatraz island.

Batu, about 250 kilometres (150 miles) south-east of Jakarta, is home to some of Indonesia's most dangerous criminals.

Tommy's cell will be next-door to his father's former golf partner and trade minister Muhammad "Bob" Hasan who is serving a six-year jail term for corruption.

Justice Minister Yusril Ihza Mahendra said Tommy left Cipinang jail before dawn on Thursday and arrived at the penal island three hours later.

"Tommy has the ability and means to escape and therefore must be transferred to a maximum security prison," he said.

'No privileges'

Mr Mahendra said Tommy would not receive any privileges.

"The facilities are the same for all - one cell with a toilet for one person. There have been no renovations," he said.

Map of Indonesia showing Jakarta and Nusakambangan
Tommy's lawyer Elza Syarief said he was sad but resigned to the move.

Earlier this month, she revealed he wanted to study Islam during his imprisonment - a pursuit also said to be followed by Hasan.

Mr Mahendra said: "The brighter side is that Bob Hasan can give [Tommy] advice so that he can be a better man."

Tommy was convicted in July of ordering the murder of the judge who found him guilty of corruption, of illegal weapons possession and of going on the run to evade the sentence handed down by the judge who was later killed.

The prison on Nusakambangan was opened in the mid-1920s by Indonesia's former Dutch colonial rulers and was once considered the harshest penal institution in South East Asia.

See also:

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28 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
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