Tuesday, March 04, 2008
The Indonesian government has received a guarantee that the 15 bird flu virus (H5N1) samples that have been sent to the World Health Organization (WHO) were only to be examined for risk assessment, as to whether the virus is resistant to oseltamivir or not.
Indonesian Government Asks for Virus Not to be Abused by WHO
“Before the virus was sent, we already had the risk assessment guarantee letter,” said Siti Fadilah Supari, Health Minister, at her residence, Jalan Denpasar, Kuningan, Jakarta, two days ago (1/3).
According to Minister Siti, the bird flu virus samples were sent along with the material transfer agreement (MTA) that the government proposed be signed by the WHO.
If the WHO is willing to sign it, then the government will send more virus samples.
“Otherwise, the government will struggle again,” said Minister Siti.
According to her, the dispatch was a test as to whether the WHO will approve the MTA or not.
In December 2006, the government stopped sending bird flu virus samples.
This policy was taken to prevent multinational companies from using Indonesian virus samples to develop vaccines with a high sales price.
Minister Siti said that with the MTA, the bird flu virus sample dispatch mechanism is more transparent and fair in terms of responsibility towards the virus sending country.
The government's desire to change the mechanism, according to her, is not only useful for bird flu cases but also other diseases.
Under the old mechanism, virus samples were prone to be misused and
could therefore spread again in Indonesia and cause a new cases.
This is because the bird flu virus spread in Indonesia is inappropriate with epidemiology.
“This needs a great deal of attention,” said Minister Siti.
With the new mechanism, she said, the government has tried to overcome the large number of bird flu case in Indonesia.
“With transparency, what ever the virus is used for can be known,” said Minister Siti.
C.A. Nidom, Head of the Avian Influenza Tropical Disease Center Laboratory at Airlangga University, supported the government's measure to start sending bird flu virus samples.
According to him, the government needs to prioritize the bird flu handling in the country instead of fighting for the right in the MTA process at the WHO.
“What we're facing are human lives and the world's community,” said Nidom when contacted yesterday (2/3).
Abu Dujana, the defendant in the alleged terrorism case, admitted keeping weapons and explosives. According to him, the weapons were the remains of the conflict in Ambon, Maluku. “There was an M-16 and a few broken pistols,” said Abu Dujana, answering Wahjono, the chairman of the panel of judges at the South Jakarta District Court, yesterday (3/3).
Abu Dujana Admits Keeping Weapons
Despite admitting possessing weapons, none were bought by him. The agenda of the trial yesterday was hearing defendant Abu Dujana's statement.
Abu Dujana was charged by terrorism as possessing, keeping and distributing firearms and explosives. Abu, arrested on June 9, 2007 in Banyumas, Central Java, was charged with Article 9 of the Anti-terrorism Decree. In addition, he was charged with Article 17 of the Anti-terrorism Decree regarding his involvement in terrorism cooperation.
At the trial Abu Dujana a.k.a. Ainul Bahri, denied some of the investigation results in the deposition. According to Abu, his health at that time very much affected his statement he gave to the investigators. A gunshot wound in his left thigh, he said, made him so that he could not concentrate. “The wound on my leg made me tired, dizzy and nauseous,” he said.
Abu also recounted having participated in war training between 1999-2000 in the Philippines, then in Afganistan in 1989. He also acknowledged being acquainted with Noor Din M. Top, the most wanted terrorist fugitive. However, he said, how he knew Noor Din was not like what is written in the deposition, as if they were solidly cooperating in a terror
After hearing the defendant's statement, the trial was resumed by the agenda by reading the charge. The panel of judges' chairman, Wahjono, asked the prosecutor to prepare the charge against Abu Dujana in the trial in the next two weeks.
After the trial, the public prosecutor Narendra Jatna, said Abu Dujana's explanation in the trial this time was his right as a defendant. According to Narendra, the defendant also has the right of objection. However, Narendra believed Abu Dujana only denied certain matters that did not influence his charge of terrorism . “For instance, admitting to keeping firearms and explosives and meeting Noor Din M. Top,” said Narendra.
Asludin Hatjani, a member of Abu Dujana's legal team, did not comment much. She said she would just wait for the charge announcement.