Komnas HAM writes to Megawati on G30S/PKI political prisoners

Detik.com – August 26, 2003
Komnas HAM chairperson Abdul Hakim Garuda Nusantara (Merdeka)
Komnas HAM chairperson Abdul Hakim Garuda Nusantara (Merdeka)

Rizal Maslan, Jakarta – On Monday August 25, the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) sent a letter to President Megawati Sukarnoputri requesting that G30S/PKI(1) political prisoners who are innocent be rehabilitated. The matter was in reference to considerations made by the Supreme Court to provide such rehabilitation.

The Komnas HAM letter, reference number 147/TUA/VIII/2003, was sent to Megawati earlier this afternoon and signed by Komnas HAM chairperson Abdul Hakim Garuda Nusantara.

According to Garuda, the letter was sent in order that the government, in this matter President Megawati, take immediate steps to rehabilitate political prisoners and ex-PKI prisoners who are innocent. “We are pushing this issue because tapols and napols(2) have never been found guilty by the courts(3). Aside from this, they have been discriminated against by the New Order regime [of former President Suharto]. According to Paragraph 3 of Law Number 39/1999 on Human Rights this is wrong”, Garuda told journalists at the Komnas HAM office on Jl. Latuharhary in Menteng, Central Jakarta on Monday.

Aside from this continued Garuda, the outcome of amendments based on Paragraph 14 Article 1 of the 1945 Constitution says that the president shall provide amnesty and rehabilitation after consideration by Supreme Court. The Supreme Court itself has already sent a letter dated June 13, 2003, reference number KMA/403/VI/2003, in which the Supreme Court’s consideration was that G30S/PKI victims should be rehabilitated.

Garuda said that in fact, [as a result of what was] in the Supreme Court’s letter, the government must take the decision to provide rehabilitation and amnesty. Because the Supreme Court has already agreed [to this] in its consideration, the president is in fact already able to do this with reference to the Supreme Court’s decision. “The Supreme Court has carried out its constitutional task, now it is up to the president [to act upon the Court’s decision]”, he explained again.

Is he optimistic that the president will grant this? Garuda only hoped that it will be able to be granted. “The Supreme Court has already given [the case] its consideration, it is hoped that the president can also [do this]”, he answered. (djo, zal)


1. G30S/PKI: Gerakan 30 September/Partai Komunis Indonesia, the September 30 Movement/Indonesian Communist Party. An acronym referring to the alleged coup attempt in 1965 which the New Order regime blamed on the PKI. G30S was a grouping of middle ranking
officers lead by Lieutenant Colonel Untung, who kidnapped and killed six generals whom they accused of being members of a “Council of Generals” allegedly organising a coup against Indonesia’s founding President Sukarno.

2. The terms Tapol and Napol both mean political prisoner. The distinction between the two is that Tapols are political prisoners who have never been tried or sentenced and Napols are political prisoners have been tried and sentenced by a court (usually by a military rather than civilian court).

3. The majority of people jailed for their alleged involvement in the G30S/PKI affair were never tried or convicted and in cases where they were, it was by military not civilian courts.

[Translated by James Balowski.]