Suharto charged – Will be pardoned if convicted

Indonesia’s former president Suharto has been formally charged with corruption, the New York Times reported August 3.

The charges revolve around the misuse of around $150 million channeled through tax-free charitable foundations controlled by the ex-president.

Suharto, his family and friends are widely reported to have stolen billions of dollars. Attorney General Marzuki Darusman wanted to pursue a narrow and provable case, however, he told the Times.

President Abdurrahim Wahid has said he will pardon Suharto, but only after the legal process is complete. He has also suggested he would be willing to issue a pardon if Suharto returns his allegedly ill-gotten gains to the nation.

Suharto may be put on trial this month, Darusman said, unless his lawyers are able to use the former strongman’s poor health to delay the proceedings.

Both prosecutors and defense lawyers have said Suharto is frail and has had problems understanding and answering questions. The ex-president’s lawyers say he is too weak to stand trial, but the attorney general’s office says the testimony of its other witnesses – over 100 of them – should be enough.

For full story, go to the New York Times.

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