Author awarded Rp 1b in compensation after Suharto-sanctioned jailing

An Indonesian author who was jailed and had his works banned under former president Suharto's New Order regime has been awarded Rp 1 billion ($71,900) in compensation by the South Jakarta District Court, The Jakarta Globe reported.

Wimanjaya Keeper Liotohe, author of human rights themed novels “Prima Dusta” (“Primary Lies”) and “Prima Duka” (“Primary Pain,”) was arrested and detained for around two years by the Suharto regime. His books were confiscated and banned during the period.

After the fall of Suharto in 1998, Wimanjaya filed a lawsuit against the Indonesian government and the Attorney General’s Office, which was responsible for the arrest and book ban.

The long-running court battle has finally ended with the court’s ruling in his favour.

The court cited the Indonesian Constitution and the 1999 law on human rights which guarantee freedom of speech and expression.

It said the ban was a result of the arbitrariness of the ruler at the time aimed at maintaining the prevailing political condition and was an abuse of power committed by the government.