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SEPTEMBER 25, 2000 VOL. 156 NO. 12

  ALSO IN TIME
COVER: Enough Is Enough
After a deadly and mysterious bomb attack at Jakarta's stock exchange, citizens are desperate for President Wahid to take decisive action to restore stability
Sick Man of Asia: Just how ill is Suharto?
Interview: The Defense Minister sees conspiracies
Outside Help: Can the world do anything to bring peace?

SPECIAL SITE
TIME at the Olympics: Sydney 2000
TIMEasia, TIMEeurope, TIMEpacific and TIME.com bring you our take on the first Olympics of the new millennium

SUMMER OLYMPICS: Notebook
Highlights from the first few days

JAPAN: Fighting Back
Despite the appearance of dedicated service, the nation's consumers have long had a raw deal. But a series of product mishaps has prompted activists to challenge the giants
Viewpoint: The consumer movement is working

THE PHILIPPINES: Going In Hard
Fed up with delays and more kidnappings, Manila launches a military assault to free hostages held by Muslim rebels

PAKISTAN: You Can't Go Home Again
Politics blocks the return of Bengali refugees to Bangladesh

INNOVATORS: The Next Wave

Who's Cool In a Hot Medium

ESPIONAGE: Dumb and Dumber

The collapse of the government's case against nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee has authorities looking foolish—and reckless
Asian America: The Lee case highlights discrimination

CINEMA: The First Empress

With a new movie starring Richard Gere, actress Joan Chen takes on a new role as a Hollywood director

TRAVEL WATCH:
Talk Can Be Cheap for Tech-Savvy Travelers

The Suharto Trial
Is the Former President truly ailing?
By ZAMIRA LOEBIS Jakarta

ALSO
Enough Is Enough: After a deadly and mysterious bomb attack at Jakarta's stock exchange, citizens are desperate for President Wahid to take decisive action to restore stability
Interview: The Defense Minister sees conspiracies
Outside Help: Can the world do anything to bring peace?

Is Suharto really ill? the former President has been a no-show both times the government tried to begin its trial against him for embezzling $570 million of state funds. His doctors say he is too sick to testify, but many Indonesians are skeptical, wondering if the crafty ex-leader is pulling a "Pinochet," getting legally excused from prosecution on medical grounds even while appearing to be in fairly stable health.

The fact is, Suharto isn't well. According to testimony from both Suharto's own doctors and a team of specialists assigned by the Attorney General's Office, the former President suffers from diabetes and heart problems and has experienced three strokes. As a result, his speech and ability to communicate are impaired. Suharto can walk, sit, stand, speak and listen. But he can converse only about simple, day-to-day matters and requires assistance for more complex discussions. An environment like a courtroom, his doctors say, would be overly stressful.

Suharto's challengers argue that, despite his woes, he is still fit enough to face his accusers in court. No one has ruled that he is legally excused from the proceedings. "There is not a single word in the medical reports that says that he cannot come to the courtroom," says prominent lawyer Todung Mulya Lubis. Kartono Mohammad, the former chairman of the Indonesian Doctors' Association, believes similarly that medical testimony by itself shouldn't be sufficient to keep Suharto out of court. Rather, he believes, it's up to the judge. "Bring him in and question him, then the judge can decide whether Suharto is fit to be tried," he says, concluding: "I don't believe that the government is serious with the case."

As the arguments rage, Suharto leads a peaceful life. He gets up early to do his prayers and has meals with his children and grandchildren. "He is not allowed to watch the news," says a family friend. "He mostly watches the Discovery and National Geographic channels." According to a former judge who recently visited Suharto, the former President appears "weak, old and quite ill—but still smiling." Indeed, the former leader may have the last laugh.

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