Major Indonesian party wants Suharto case dropped
(AFP) - The former political party of Indonesia's ex-dictator Suharto has asked the government to drop all legal cases against the hospitalised 86-year-old, a party executive said Monday.
Suharto fell ill early last week at his home, where he has been a virtual recluse since protests and economic turmoil in 1998 ended his 32-year iron-grip and often brutal rule of Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous nation.
The former leader, accused of multi-billion-dollar corruption that enriched his family and cronies while he was in power, was admitted to hospital on Friday with serious heart, kidney and lung problems.
"We have sent out a written statement to the various concerned institutions and individuals, including the attorney general and the president, asking that all legal cases against Suharto be dropped," said Theo Sambuaga, a deputy chairman of the Golkar Party.
The party was Suharto's political vehicle for decades.
The official told AFP that the attorney general had the authority to order such a move based on considerations such as the public interest and humanitarian grounds. The statement was sent late Sunday, he added.
Suharto's poor health saw a criminal trial against him for corruption abandoned in 2006.
A civil suit however is currently being heard against him, with the government seeking 1.4 billion dollars in damages and returned assets allegedly accrued through a charitable foundation Suharto chaired while in power.
Meanwhile, doctors treating Suharto at Jakarta's Pertamina hospital said his health had not worsened.
"There has been no regression, the status quo is still more or less maintained," Marjo Soebiandono, who heads the presidential team of doctors, told AFP.
On Sunday doctors said Suharto was in a critical condition but improving. Family members and visitors said that the former leader could smile and speak although he remained weak.
Suharto's six children, current President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and a stream of other high-profile officials have visited him since his admission to hospital.
The flurry of well-wishers demonstrates the influence Suharto still wields among Indonesia's elite, despite his ignominious fall as leader and the allegations of corruption, which he has denied.