This paper examines what happened to militants of the Indonesian Communist Party (Partai Komunis Indonesia, PKI) captured in South Blitar, East Java, and detained in connection with attempts to resurrect the party. Although most Indonesian leftist detainees were released by the late 1970s, the ‘South Blitar group’ continued to be imprisoned, some on death row, until well into the 1990s. They were captured as part of the army’s Trisula Operation, a counterinsurgency campaign to suppress a PKI base in South Blitar and surrounding areas. Their ranks included those ‘second-echelon’ leaders of the PKI, such as Munir, Ruslan Wijayasastra and Rewang, who had risen to replace party leaders missing or killed, as well as mass organisation leaders from the Indonesian Women’s Movement (Gerwani, Gerakan Wanita Indonesia). Although concerned with providing an impression of adherence to the rule of law, such as by holding trials of those captured in South Blitar, the New Order regime, through its judiciary and security apparatus, nonetheless, imposed cruel and unusual punishment on them. Drawing on letters and other written accounts such as memoirs and defence pleas, as well as advocacy documents, this paper explores the fate of the South Blitar prisoners and some of the ensuing campaigns for their release from prison.
|Publication status||Published - 24 Mar 2019|
|Event||Association of Asian Studies Annual Conference - Sheraton Downtown Hotel, Denver, United States|
Duration: 21 Mar 2019 → 24 Mar 2019
|Conference||Association of Asian Studies Annual Conference|
|Period||21/03/19 → 24/03/19|
Hearman, V. (2019). The case of the ‘South Blitar political prisoners’ in the 1965-66 anti-communist violence in Indonesia: Cruel and unusual punishment. Paper presented at Association of Asian Studies Annual Conference , Denver, United States.