Thousands of political prisoners released by the government of Indonesia are being reunited with their families for the first time for 12 years. 1,500 prisoners, freed from the remote island prison of Buru, arrived on Java two days after Christmas (27 December).
GV: Released prisoners preparing to disembark at Tanjong Perak wharf in Surabaya.
GV & CU: Prisoners disembarking and being shown to trucks. (FIVE SHOTS)
CU: Injured prisoner on crutches.
SV: Covered body being carried off boat.
GTV: Prisoners disembarking.
GV PAN: Women's detainee camp in Central Java.
GV: Women detainees crossing bridge. (TWO SHOTS)
GV: Women in camp.
SV & CU: Women sewing.
GV PAN: Camp.
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Background: Thousands of political prisoners released by the government of Indonesia are being reunited with their families for the first time for 12 years. 1,500 prisoners, freed from the remote island prison of Buru, arrived on Java two days after Christmas (27 December).
SYNOPSIS: For these prisoners, Surabaya was the first glimpse of the main part of Indonesia and freedom, since their imprisonment on Buru in 1965, after an abortive Communist-led coup. From here, they were able to get home to their families. On the 20th of December Indonesia officially freed 10,000 political prisoners and has since been transporting them home. The government has promised that all political prisoners will be released over the next two years.
Although some of those released were sick, most looked reasonably fit. All pledged allegiance to President Suharto and denounced Communism. But one man died moments before he was due to leave the navy ship which had brought him from Buru.
The mass release is part of President Suharto's programme to erase the memory of the coup, after which half a million people died. Of the 20,000 political prisoners still to be released, many are women. These detainees are held in the women's camp at Pelantongan, in central Java. As many as 400,000 Communists and their sympathisers were rounded up after the coup, and held without trial. Those now released, and those remaining in prison, are said to have been directly involved with the coup attempt.