Suharto 'unfit for trial'

Former Indonesian dictator Suharto is suffering from permanent brain damage and unfit to face trial on corruption charges, a presidential doctor has said.

    Pressure remains high for Suharto to be brought to trial

    "He has two permanent cerebral defects," said the physician, Brig. Gen. Dr. Marjo Subiandono.

    "We are ready to re-examine him, but nothing can be done," the doctor said, adding that the former leader was incapable of holding a logical conversation.

    The doctor's comments come amid renewed efforts to bring Suharto to trial on charges of embezzling hundreds of millions of dollars in state assets.

    Suharto, who turns 85 in June, has suffered a number of health problems including two strokes since he was forced to resign in 1998 amid violent protests against his 32-year rule.

    Tip of the iceberg

    Suharto has kept a low profile
    since leaving office

    After his downfall, he was indicted for allegedly embezzling US$600 million of state funds, but the charges were thrown out in 2000 after doctors deemed him unfit to stand trial.

    Critics say that was merely the tip of the iceberg and that Suharto and his family stole several billions of dollars from the country during his time in power.

    Attorney General Abdul Rachman Saleh said this week a team of 20 doctors would be asked to re-examine Suharto to see if his health has improved - a move that could pave the way for him to face a court.

    Although the former leader has kept a low profile since being forced from office, he is occasionally seen chatting quietly with family members or visiting officials in his compound in the capital's upscale Menteng district.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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