Suharto’s brother begins four-year jail term

The half brother of former Indonesian dictator Suharto began a four-year prison term on Wednesday for corruption, a punishment widely welcomed by Indonesians who lived under the graft-ridden regime. Probosutedjo said nothing as he was escorted by police through scores of reporters outside the capital's Cipinang Prison. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court upheld an earlier ruling and sentenced Probosutedjo to four years in jail for misusing millions of dollars of government reforestation funds between 1994 and 1997.

His lawyers say they will apply for a judicial review of the case. Indonesia's legal system allows defendants to appeal a Supreme Court ruling if they can present fresh evidence.

The Suharto regime ended in 1998 amid pro-democracy riots and an economic meltdown. Anti-graft groups have long accused Suharto, his family and associates of systematic corruption during his 32-year rule.

Probosutedjo's case has attracted massive media interest amid a desire by ordinary Indonesians to see former members of the political, military and economic elite punished for corruption during the Suharto years.

Like many Indonesians, Probosutedjo uses only one name. Suharto was accused of embezzling US$600 million in state assets during his rule, but his trial was shelved because of his poor health.

Suharto's youngest son, Hutomo "Tommy" Mandala Putra, is serving a 15-year sentence for orchestrating the killing of a Supreme Court judge who convicted him of corruption in a multimillion-dollar land deal, reports the AP. I.L.

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