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Relative of Suharto Probed

December 24, 1998

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) _ A relative of former President Suharto being investigated for alleged kidnapping said he turned down an offer of Jordanian citizenship, a newspaper reported.

Former Lt. Gen. Prabowo Subianto said in a statement from Jordan that he was visiting the country to pursue business opportunities and denied any wrongdoing, the daily Kompas said.

Jordan said Tuesday it had granted honorary citizenship to Prabowo, a son-in-law of Suharto who is suspected in the abduction and torture of pro-democracy protesters earlier this year. The military has said it might court-martial him.

The authoritarian Suharto quit in May after riots and protests against his 32-year rule.

In Jakarta on Wednesday, 11 soldiers belonging to Indonesia’s special forces were charged in a military court with kidnapping the opponents of Suharto. Prabowo was in command of the elite troops at the time.

In a letter to the Kompas newspaper published Wednesday, Prabowo said he was offered Jordanian citizenship, ``but I was forced to reject it because Indonesia does not recognize dual citizenship.″

Justice Minister Muladi said that if Prabowo accepts Jordanian citizenship, his Indonesian citizenship will automatically be revoked.

Prabowo, who for many Indonesians represents the worst excesses of the Suharto era, denied allegations that he engineered riots that preceded Suharto’s downfall.

A government-backed panel of investigators implicated Prabowo in the riots that killed 1,200 people in Jakarta. Critics have suggested military hard-liners provoked the violence in order to justify a crackdown on government opponents.

``I sternly and strongly deny these accusations,″ Prabowo said.

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