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Cablegate: Suharto Clings to Life, Legal Debate Ensues

VZCZCXRO2312
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #0085 0151100
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 151100Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7645
INFO RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 4637
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 1872
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 1409
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON PRIORITY 2237
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RHHJJPI/USPACOM HONOLULU HI

UNCLAS JAKARTA 000085

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, EAP/MLS
NSC FOR E.PHU

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL ID
SUBJECT: SUHARTO CLINGS TO LIFE, LEGAL DEBATE ENSUES

REF: A. JAKARTA 33

B. 07 JAKARTA 2974

1. (U) This message is Sensitive but Unclassified -- Please
handle accordingly.

2. (SBU) SUMMARY: Former Indonesian President Suharto remains
in critical condition eleven days after entering the hospital
on January 5. Media coverage remains intensive, and a
limited but growing number of domestic and foreign
dignitaries have come to his bedside. Suharto's supporters
called for dropping an outstanding civil suit against the
former dictator. While the government has demurred publicly,
prosecutors reportedly have offered an out-of-court
settlement. END SUMMARY

3. (U) 50-50 CHANCE: Suharto remains in critical but stable
condition after 11 days in the hospital. Media reports that,
according to doctors, he experienced multiple organ failures
on January 11-12, has suffered a repeated buildup of fluid at
various points in the body and now has a lung infection. He
remains dependent on life support, and one doctor described
the octogenarian chances of pulling through as 50-50.
Various rumors have circulated as to why Suharto lingers on,
including a purported Javanese belief that it is bad luck to
die in January and alleged Suharto family machinations to
have outstanding legal cases against him dropped.

4. (U) VIP VISITS PICK UP: Media coverage remains constant,
and numerous Indonesian leaders, including President
Yudhoyono, VP Kalla, Speaker of Parliament Agung Laksono and
high-ranking military officers, have visited him.
International visitors included former Singapore PM Lee Kwan
Yew, former Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad and Brunei Sultan
Hassanal Bolkiah. Lee Kwan Yew, the first to visit,
expressed dismay that Suharto was not being shown the respect
due a leader of his time.

5. (SBU) LAWSUIT GOES ON, BUT TACTICS CHANGE: The former
president's illness sparked a vigorous debate regarding the
ongoing multi-million-dollar civil lawsuit that the Attorney
General's Office has filed against Suharto and the Supersemar
Foundation. Supporters, notably from Golkar Party, have
appealed for the GOI to drop the case against the Supersemar
foundation, which Suharto established (ref b). The Attorney
General responded that the case would proceed, while
President Yudhoyono deemed the debate inappropriate under the
circumstances. In what could be a move to resolve the issue,
prosecutors reportedly offered the foundation an out-of-court
settlement last week. If accepted, the settlement offer
could represent a face-saving way out of the controversy for
both sides.
HUME

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