Court cancels order to seize newspaper offices

New York, October 2, 2003—The South Jakarta District Court today cancelled the order to seize the offices of Koran Tempo as collateral in a libel case against the newspaper. The order was issued yesterday, following a similar order on the home of Tempo journalist Goenawan Mohamad. Businessman Tomy Winata has sued both Mohamad and Koran Tempo for libel, following the newspaper’s publication of remarks by Mohamad calling Winata a “thug.”

At a court hearing yesterday, Mohamad’s lawyers argued that the libel suit is unlawful. The defense team also argued that the seizure of the Koran Tempo offices violated a previous Supreme Court ruling that such court-ordered seizures cannot be issued on property belonging to a third party. Koran Tempo rents the office space from a separate owner.

The judge in the case said that he would examine the defense’s objections and make a final decision on the seizure order next week. The court-ordered seizure of Mohamad’s house is still in effect.

For more information, see the alert of October 1.