Suharto Children to Be Summoned in Corruption Case

JAKARTA ~ A court is to summons the children of late ex-president Suharto to defend a civil corruption case the former leader was facing when he died last month, a judge said this week.

As part of the case the government was seeking US$1.4 billion in returned assets and damages from Suharto, who died aged 86, and the Supersemar Foundation, an educational charity he chaired.

Prosecutors formally asked judges at the South Jakarta District Court to call Suharto’s six children to defend the case.

“This request will be transferred today (Tuesday) to the Central Jakarta District Court so that they can send the request to the concerned parties,” said the head of the panel of judges, Wahjono.

Suharto’s children live in areas covered by the Central Jakarta court’s jurisdiction, he said.

Under Indonesian law, a defendant in a civil case can be replaced by his or her heirs following death.

Wahjono said last month that the case would go on even if Suharto’s children declined to appear, which would mean they relinquished their right to defend their interests.

The judge said at the time he had ordered prosecutors to formally name at least one heir to stand in place of Suharto before the trial continued, though prosecutors did not specify any names on Tuesday.

One of the Suharto family’s lawyers, Juan Felix Tampubolon, told reporters outside the courtroom that he would advise the children to accept the request to appear in the case.

The case – which had been part of a renewed effort by the government to bring the former dictator to justice – alleges Suharto oversaw the misallocation of money intended for student scholarships.

Suharto died without ever facing criminal prosecution over allegations he oversaw massive corruption during his rule that benefited his family and cronies. A trial against him was abandoned on health grounds.

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