- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 4, 2001

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) Indonesia's top anti-corruption crusader died yesterday, the state-run Antara news agency said, in what could be a major political blow to the president ahead of his impeachment.
Attorney General Baharuddin Lopa died after heart surgery in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, sources close to the president and parliament confirmed.
His death throws into doubt graft investigations ordered by President Abdurrahman Wahid against senior lawmakers who are leading the drive for Mr. Wahid's removal in impeachment hearings due to start next month.
Mr. Lopa had denied claims that he was acting from political motives to save Mr. Wahid's presidency.
Nevertheless, the anti-graft drive had been widely regarded as a retaliatory strike by Mr. Wahid to force hostile legislators into making a deal to allow him to remain leader. Mr. Wahid has denied any wrongdoing in the face of corruption and incompetence charges.
On Monday, an angry Mr. Wahid said attempts to reach a compromise with his opponents had failed.
Adding to Mr. Wahid's woes has been the refusal by the military and police to back his plan to declare a state of emergency and dissolve the national assembly before it begins deliberations on whether to remove him.
National assembly Chairman Amien Rais said yesterday that impeachment hearings would start Aug. 1, as scheduled.
Earlier yesterday, presidential spokesman Adhi Massardi announced that Mr. Lopa had undergone heart surgery. He said the duties of Mr. Lopa, who was appointed in a Cabinet reshuffle on June 1, had been assumed by Deputy Attorney General Suparman, who, like many Indonesians, uses only one name.
Mr. Massardi said Mr. Lopa, 66, had suffered heart problems during a trip to Saudi Arabia, where he once served as ambassador.
Last month, Mr. Wahid authorized Mr. Lopa to investigate several of his most ardent opponents, including Akbar Tandjung, who is the speaker of parliament and head of the second-largest party, Golkar.
Golkar was once the political machine of Suharto, who was accused of corruption during his 32 years in power.
Mr. Lopa also had promised to reopen the case against Suharto, which was abandoned last year when judges ruled that the former autocrat, now 80, was too old and sick to face prosecution.

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