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Labor Leader Charged with Subversion; Megawati to Be Questioned

August 3, 1996

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) _ A labor leader accused of inciting rioting that killed at least three people has been charged with subversion, his lawyer said today. The crime is punishable by death.

Police, meanwhile, said today that they summoned pro-democracy leader Megawati Sukarnoputri for questioning about events leading up to the July 27 violence.

Subversion charges were filed Friday night against Muchtar Pakpahan, chairman of the Indonesia Welfare Workers Union, attorney Irianto Subiakto said. Irianto said his client is innocent.

Muchtar, arrested Tuesday, is accused of conspiring with leftists to destabilize the government of President Suharto. International labor groups have demanded his release, and the U.S. Embassy has called on Suharto’s government to protect his legal rights.

Security officials haven’t released evidence to support the allegations, which opposition politicians say is an excuse to crack down on demands for greater democracy after 30 years of rule by Suharto.

Police summoned Megawati on Friday night, a day after receiving approval from Suharto, said Jakarta Police Chief Maj. Gen. Hamami Nata. Three other members of her Indonesian Democratic Party also were summoned.

Security officials contend Megawati, daughter of Indonesia’s founding President Sukarno, let speakers attack the government during rallies held outside party headquarters in defiance of a government ban.

Investigators required permission from Suharto to question Megawati because she is a member of parliament.

Police raided Megawati’s headquarters July 27, breaking up a sit-in by her supporters. The group was protesting her ouster as party leader by a military-backed rebel party congress.

The party is one of three allowed under Suharto’s government.

The president, who overthrew Megawati’s father in 1966, apparently is afraid that her growing following could threaten his government’s authority.

Three people were killed and more than 90 wounded in violent protests that erupted after the raid. Nearly 250 people were detained.

Police have released 113 people for lack of evidence and plan to file subversion charges against 123 others, Hamami said. He told the Jakarta Post newspaper that 10 other people ``are still undergoing interrogation.″

Police arrested five students Friday in Yogyakarta, Java’s old imperial capital, during a gathering in front of state-run Gaja Mada University, the Post reported.

It said about 200 students had gathered for a rally when police arrived.

The arrested students are suspected of being members of the unauthorized Democratic People’s Party, the newspaper said.

Security officials contend the party is a group of subversives with tactics similar to those of the Indonesian Communist Party, banned after being blamed for a failed 1965 coup attempt.

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