Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid on Wednesday said he was preparing to take several members of the family of former president Suharto and their lawyers to court over slanderous accusations, a presidential spokesman said.
"The president will sue people who have made accusations at will, especially those concerning the meeting at the Borobudur (Hotel)," Spokesman Adhi Massardi told journalists at the palace.
Massardi was refering to a meeting between Wahid and the fugitive youngest son of former president Suharto, Hutomo "Tommy" Mandala Putra, at the Borobudur Hotel last month.
Wahid has said that during the meeting he had repeated to Tommy that he would not grant him the presidential pardon he was seeking over an 18 month-jail term for corruption issued by the Supreme Court in September.
"At the initial phase, the suit will be filed against Tommy's in-laws, his lawyers and Titiek Prabowo," Massardi said.
Titiek is the nickname of Siti Hediyanti Prabowo, one of Suharto's daughters.
Titiek earlier this month answered questions about the whereabout of her fugitive brother, by saying that Wahid should also be questioned because the president had met Tommy in a private meeting at the Borobudur.
"The president is currently preparing the (legal suits) process with the prosecutor's office and the police," Massardi said.
Titiek's statement had been taken up by Tommy's father-in-law and several Suharto family lawyers to allege that Wahid had tried to make a deal with Tommy over his arrest.
Tommy was declared a fugitive after he failed on November 3 to present himself to the authorities to serve his jail term. His whereabouts remains unknown.
Massardi said that Wahid has so far "desanctified" the presidency and that he was now on the path of upholding the law.
Many, including parliamentarians, have demanded that Wahid makes a public explanation over what took place during the meeting with Tommy, which was also attended by Tommy's eldest sister Siti Hardiyanti "Tutut" Rukmana.
If jailed, Tommy, 38, a millionaire businessman, would be the first member of the immediate family of the former Indonesian dictator to be put behind bars.
Wahid has pledged a presidential pardon for the elder Suharto, who has also been charged with corruption, but only if he first stands trial and returns any ill-gotten wealth to the state – JAKARTA (AFP)
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