Wiranto explains rumor on Prabowo`s dismissal from military

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Former military chief General (ret) Wiranto explained at a press conference on Thursday about the rumor surrounding the dismissal of presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto as Commander of Armys Special Forces (Kopassus) back in 1998.

Wiranto said he did not want to use the term "honorable discharge" or "dishonorable discharge" with regard to the dismissal of Prabowo from the military.

"The dismissal of Prabowo from the military was due to his involvement in the kidnapping of pro-democracy activists when he was still the Commander of Armys Special Forces (Kopassus) in 1998. Such action was deemed as a violation of military rules and several articles on the Criminal Law. With such fact, there is no need to argue on the status of his dismissal. Let the people judge by themselves," Wiranto said.

He explained Prabowo was dismissed after an investigation was conducted by the members of Military Officers Honorary Council (DKP). Through a series of trials, Wiranto said, the DKP confirmed the involvement of Prabowo in the kidnapping. The DKP then recommended the dismissal of Prabowo, while the members of his team, who conducted the kidnapping in the field, were prosecuted in the military court.

Wiranto also explained about the dismissal letter of Prabowo, which was leaked recently in the social media. He suspected that a former military general was behind the leak.

Wiranto denied accusations that he was responsible for leaking the letter to the public. He said it was impossible to possess thousands of official letters circulating in the military office.

"All administrative letters are kept at the military headquarters. Besides, the kidnapping of activists in 1998 was a public case. Hence, the documents do not solely belong to the military but also to the public," he added.

Indonesia will be holding a presidential election on July 9, with two presidential candidates--General (ret) Prabowo Subianto and current Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi.

Prabowo Subianto is a retired military general and the chairman of Gerindra (Great Indonesia Movement) Party, while his vice-presidential candidate Hatta Rajasa is a former coordinating minister for economic affairs and the chairman of the National Mandate Party (PAN).

Jokowi is Jakarta's governor and a cadre of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP), and his running mate Jusuf Kalla (JK) is a former vice president and a senior politician of the Golkar Party.

The Jokowi-JK pair is supported by five political parties: the Indonesia Democratic Party Struggle (PDIP), the Nation Awakening Party (PKB), the Peoples Conscience Party (Hanura), the Justice and Indonesian Unity Party (PKPI), and the National Democrats Party (Nasdem) established by Surya Paloh, owner of Metro TV and the Media Indonesia newspaper.

The Prabowo-Hatta pair is supported by Gerindra, PAN, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), the United Development Party (PPP), the Moon and Star Party (PBB), and the Golkar Party, whose current chairman is Aburizal Bakrie, owner of TV One.

The ruling Democrat Party has taken a neutral stance in the election, although some of its top cadres have taken sides.

Reported by Rangga Pandu Asmara Jingga
Translated and Edited by Amie Fenia Arimbi