Kamisan Action demands Jokowi revoke Prabowo's honorary 4-star general rank

CNN Indonesia – February 29, 2024
807th Kamisan action in front of Merdeka Palace in Jakarta – February 29, 2024 (CNN)

Jakarta – The 807th Kamisan (Thursday) action, which was held in front of the Merdeka Palace on Thursday February 29, also touched on the issue of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo giving an honorary rank of four-star general to Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto yesterday, Wednesday February 28.

The Kamisan actions are routine protests that have been held opposite the Presidential Palace in Central Jakarta by victims, the families of victims and sympathisers since January 18, 2007.

During the actions, they demand that the state fully resolved cases of gross human rights violations such as the Trisakti and Semanggi I and II student shootings in 1998 and the abduction of pro-democracy activists towards the end of the New Order era of former president Suharto.

At the 807th Kamisan, the mother of a victim of the Semanggi I tragedy, Maria Catarina Sumarsih, was one of those asking Widodo to revoke Presidential Decree (Keppres) Number 13/TNI/2024 on Prabowo's promotion in rank.

"Our demand, is that the Keppres granting Prabowo this special rank should be revoked, if Pak [Mr] Jokowi is truly a reformist and upholds human values", said Sumarsih speaking across from the Palace on Jalan Medan Merdeka Selatan on Thursday evening.

Sumarsih said this because she thinks that Widodo is currently distorting the facts.

In January 2023, she said, Widodo publically acknowledged that 12 cases of gross human rights violations had occurred in Indonesia. One of these was the forced disappearance of activists in 1997-98. On the other hand, according to Sumarsih, Prabowo is strongly suspected of being the perpetrator of the abductions.

Moreover, according to Sumarsih, Prabowo admitted his "crime" on January 28 during a campaign rally for his presidential candidacy. At the rally Prabowo apologised to Agus Jabo and Budiman Sudjatmiko – two former People's Democratic Party (PRD) activists who fought against the New Order regime of former president Suharto.

Thus, Prabowo personally admitted in public that he had hunted down pro-democracy activists in mid-1997-98.

"So it is very strange when a person [like] Jokowi who claims to be someone who was born out of reformasi in fact betrays reformasi", said Sumarsih, referring to the political reform process that began in 1998.

Furthermore, Sumarsih also believes that giving the rank of four-star general (HOR) to Prabowo is intended to clear the name of the former Army Strategic Reserves Command (Kostrad) commander at that time.

Not only that, according to Sumarsih, Widodo also did this for personal political purposes, namely perpetuating his political dynasty by making his eldest son, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, Prabowo's vice presidential running mate in the 2024 presidential election.

"Not just clearing Prabowo's good name, but he has a greater interest in building a political dynasty", said Sumarsih.

Earlier, Prabowo received an official promotion to honorary four-star general from Widodo at the sidelines of a TNI-Polri (Indonesian military-Indonesian police) leadership meeting in Cilangkap, East Jakarta, on Wednesday.

Initially, [prior to being dismissed from the military in 1998], Prabowo held the rank of lieutenant general or a three-star general. Now, he has the new title or rank of full or four-star general.

The awarding of the honorary rank was based on Presidential Decree Number 13/TNI/2024 dated February 21 on the Awarding of a Special Rank in the Form of an Honorary TNI General.

President Widodo also revealed that giving the honorary rank to Prabowo was a suggestion from TNI commander General Agus Subiyanto.

Widodo said the award was given to Prabowo as a confirmation of his dedication to the Indonesian people, nation and state.

In addition to this, according to Widodo, this decision went through a verification process by the Board of Merit and Honorary Awards, and is in accordance with Law Number 20/2009. (khr/kid)


In 1997-98 as many as 23 pro-democracy activists were abducted by members of the Army's Special Forces (Kopassus). After extended periods of detention – in many cases the victims were severely tortured – most were released although 13 remain missing and are presumed dead. Former Kopassus commander Lieutenant General Prabowo Subianto, who was at the time President Suharto's son-in-law, has admitted to ordering the abductions but claims they were all released alive and well. He was subsequently dismissed from the military over the abductions but has never been tried in court.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Aksi Kamisan Korban HAM Minta Keppres Pangkat Jenderal Prabowo Dicabut".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20240229185531-20-1068950/aksi-kamisan-korban-ham-minta-keppres-pangkat-jenderal-prabowo-dicabut