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Konformist: DITA SARI RELEASED

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  • Robalini@aol.com
    Please send as far and wide as possible. Thanks, Robert Sterling Editor, The Konformist http://www.konformist.com If you are interested in a free subscription
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 14, 1999
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      Please send as far and wide as possible.

      Thanks,

      Robert Sterling
      Editor, The Konformist
      http://www.konformist.com


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      INDONESIA: DITA SARI RELEASED
      posted July 10, 1999

      In this alert:
      Dita Sari released - two media reports
      Statement from Amnesty International
      With no help from Nike
      Sweatshop organizing packet - second installment

      <><><><><>
      DITA SARI RELEASED
      two media reports

      1) Jakarta Post, July 6

      Labor activist Dita released from prison

      TANGERANG (JP): Jailed labor activist Dita Indah Sari of the Democratic
      People's Party (PRD) left the women's penitentiary here on Monday after
      spending two years in prison.

      The release of Dita, 25, who was sentenced in July 1997 to five years
      imprisonment under the controversial 1963 Subversion Law, was part of an
      amnesty granted by President B.J. Habibie in presidential decree number 68
      issued on July 2, 1999.

      A few steps outside the prison, Dita announced: "My freedom is not the mercy
      of the government, but a pure political measure."

      According to her, Habibie's administration was facing mounting criticism
      from the public, and her release was simply part of the government's efforts
      to increase its popularity.

      Dita, also chairwoman of the Center for Indonesian Workers Struggle, was
      arrested along with other labor activists in July 1996 for organizing two
      rallies involving some 10,000 workers from 10 factories in the Tandes
      industrial estate in southern Surabaya, East Java.

      The rallies, which called for the minimum wage in Surabaya to be raised from
      Rp 5,200 to Rp 7,000 per day, ended violently after the military moved in to
      disperse protesters.

      Dita was given a five-year sentence by the Surabaya District Court in 1997
      and was soon transferred to the capital.

      She was found guilty of attempting to subvert the state and topple the
      government through her activities in Jakarta, Surabaya and other cities.

      Dita left the penitentiary on Monday at 12:30 p.m., accompanied by her
      father Adjidar Ascha and colleagues from local and international non-
      governmental organizations.

      To mom's grave

      The fifth of six children, Dita is the only member of her family who became
      involved in politics.

      Her mother passed away in Jakarta while Dita was being held in prison in
      Surabaya, and she was not allowed to attend her mother's funeral.

      "I want to go to my mother's grave," she said about her plans.

      She said she would then concentrate her energies on the labor struggle,
      adding that she had already established a national labor front which was the
      seed for an Indonesian labor organization.

      "This (national labor front) is a transitional organization prior to the
      establishment of a national labor organization," she said.

      Leaving the penitentiary in a Honda Civic sedan, Dita headed to Menteng Pulo
      cemetery in Central Jakarta.

      Her release caught many off guard because the government had given no prior
      signals of a possible amnesty for her.

      Minister of Manpower Fahmi Idris visited Dita last Monday and held a
      closed-door meeting with her, but did not say anything about the possibility
      of her being released.

      Dita quoted Fahmi as saying at the time that the idea of releasing her
      sparked arguments among government officials.

      Dita said it was most likely the Indonesian Military which did not want to
      see her freed.

      "If I'm released, they fear fresh labor rallies which, they think, would
      threaten national stability," she said last week.

      Dita said her freedom was a gift from God. She also thanked the endless
      support of her fellow labor activists.

      Dita also urged Habibie to release imprisoned activist Budiman Sudjatmiko
      and East Timorese pro-independence leader Alexander "Xanana" Gusmao.


      2) Indonesian woman labor activist released from jail

      JAKARTA, July 5 (AFP) - The Indonesian government on Monday released a woman
      labor activist, jailed by the government of former president Suharto for
      organizing a series of workers' protests.

      Dita Indah Sari, now 27, was sentenced to a six-year jail term in 1997 after
      organizing labor protests in Surabaya, the capital of East Java.

      "It (the release) is not out of kindness, nor out of any favor for us. This
      is (based on the) government's political calculations," Dita said in a
      television interview after her release from a prison outside Jakarta.

      She said she now planned to set up a labor union.

      Before ending up in jail, Sari spearheaded a labor wing of the People's
      Democratic Party (PRD), a small left-leaning party which is contesting the
      June 7 elections.

      The PRD was banned under Suharto and its leader, Budiman Sujatmiko, is still
      in jail for alleged involvement in riots here in 1996 to protest the ouster
      of Megawati Sukarnoputri from the leadership of the Indonesian Democracy
      Party.

      Megawati's party is now leading in the count after the national
      parliamentary elections.

      Sujatmiko has refused the government's offer to release him, on the grounds
      that acceptance would mean admission of guilt, and he maintains the Suharto
      government is guilty of wrongly imprisoning him.

      Since Suharto's fall in May of last year, the government of his successor
      President B.J. Habibie has allowed the free formation of labor unions.

      <><><><><>
      STATEMENT FROM AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

      * News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty
      International *

      Indonesia: Release of Dita Indah Sari
      6 July 1999

      Amnesty International welcomed today's release of Dita Indah Sari, a {labour
      rights} organiser connected to the Peoples Democratic Party (Partai Rakyat
      Demokratic - PRD) who was serving a five year sentence for her peaceful
      activities defending workers rights. Her release follows sustained
      campaigning by international human rights groups, trade unions, women's
      rights groups and others.

      While welcoming measures taken by the Habibie government to address
      Indonesia's poor human rights record, Amnesty International urged the
      Indonesian authorities to take additional steps to implement legislative and
      institutional reforms to protect freedom of expression and association.
      Among the steps that should be taken by the Indonesian government are:

      * the unconditional release of all {prisoners of conscience}. While Dita
      Indah Sari has been released, other prisoners of conscience, including seven
      members of the PRD and its affiliated organisations, remain in jail.

      * the review by an independent body, of the convictions against more than a
      hundred Indonesian and East Timorese {political prisoners} jailed after
      unfair political trials.

      * the repeal of all legislation facilitating the arrest and imprisonment of
      prisoners of conscience, including the so-called "hate-sowing" articles of
      the Indonesian Criminal Code under which Dita Indah Sari was charged.

      * the establishment in law of an independent judiciary which operates in
      accordance with international standards on the independence of the judiciary
      and rights to a fair trial.

      Dita Indah Sari's release comes at a time when Amnesty International is
      investigating recent reports of ill-treatment of PRD members by the police
      and of threats and attacks against PRD offices by unknown assailants. Dozens
      of PRD members were shot and beaten by {police} during a clash which erupted
      outside the offices of the General Election Commission (KPU) in Jakarta on 1
      July when the PRD was prevented from presenting a petition to the KPU. Since
      then two PRD offices have reportedly been attacked by unknown groups of men
      and a member of the PRD who has been accused by the authorities of
      orchestrating the violence during the 1 July demonstration has received
      anonymous telephone threats that he will be kidnapped.

      Amnesty International is urging the Indonesian authorities to ensure that
      these incidents are impartially and fully investigated and that steps are
      taken to protect PRD members from possible attacks.

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      <><><><><>
      WITH NO HELP FROM NIKE
      comments by Trim Bissell, national coordinator, Campaign for Labor Rights

      In conjunction with last year's decision by the Indonesian government to
      legalize independent unions, the recent release of this prominent labor
      rights advocate is a sign of progress in Indonesia. However, there is little
      evidence that Nike intends to undertake any proactive steps to support the
      right of freedom of association in its factories - in Indonesia or
      elsewhere. In recent months, Nike representatives refused repeated requests
      to call publicly for Dita Sari's release.

      <><><><><>
      SECOND INSTALLMENT OF ORGANIZING PACKET

      The second installment of the 1999 Sweatshop Activist Organizing Packet is
      ready. Everyone who ordered the first installment automatically receives
      subsequent installments throughout the year. Everyone ordering the packet
      now will receive the second installment, plus all materials which are still
      timely from the first installment.

      The 1999 Sweatshop Activist Organizing Packet is a multi-theme,
      multi-campaign packet for local activists who are organizing around
      sweatshop issues. Order by email <CLR@...> or phone (541) 344-5410.
      Complete packets only - no orders of specific pieces. Include your postal
      address: Packet is in hard copy. Packet includes a donation form and a
      return envelope. Suggested donation: $10.00.

      If ordering from outside the United States, please pay by credit card. From
      within the U.S., either credit card or check payment is welcome. If you are
      paying by card, the charge will be credited to Campaign for Labor Rights
      through the Alliance for Global Justice, of which CLR is a member project.
      Your bill, however, will show a payment to the Alliance. Just email us your
      name as it appears on the MasterCard, Visa or Discover card, your account
      number, the expiration date and the amount of the payment in U.S. dollars.

      Among the items in the second installment are:

      * A cover letter, summarizing new developments in important anti-sweatshop
      campaigns.
      * Updated organizing and background materials for major campaigns
      (Disney/Haiti, farmworkers, Gap, Han Young/Hyundai, Nike and Phillips-Van
      Heusen).
      * Information on special programs of sweatshop activism coming up during the
      1999 holiday season and Wal-Mart campaign.
      * A Spanish language version of the INS (La Migra) brochure included in the
      first installment of the packet.
      * Fact sheet on legal issues related to leafleting at malls.
      * Media tips and sample press releases.
      * Commentary on how global debt contributes to the proliferation of
      sweatshops and information on action campaigns around the debt issue.
      * A community organizing how-to manual from the Bangor Clean Clothes Campaign.

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

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