Indonesian teacher’s aide Ferdinant Tjiong and Canadian teacher Neil Bantleman had their prison sentences for sodomy at the Jakarta Intercultural School reinstated by the Supreme Court on appeal in February this year. Photo: Michael BachelardIndonesia’s chief security minister says he will show the ambassadors of four countries – including Australia – solid evidence against teachers and cleaners accused of sexual abuse at a prestigious international school.
Nanjing Night Net

Canadian teacher Neil Bantleman and Indonesian teacher’s aide Ferdinant Tjiong had their prison sentences for sodomy at the Jakarta Intercultural School (JIS) reinstated by the Supreme Court on appeal in February this year.

The shock decision attracted international ire because it was at odds with that made by the Jakarta High Court, which acquitted the men in 2015.

Chief Security Minister Luhut Panjaitan said he had asked the Jakarta Police to brief him on the case after ambassadors had complained.

He said he would invite the ambassadors from Canada, Australia, the US and Britain to see the evidence.

“We will invite the respected ambassadors because they insisted that we were wrong,” Mr Panjaitan said.

“We try to deal with the JIS case seriously, we don’t want to be accused on baseless grounds. In a short time we will invite the four ambassadors who complained about the case to see the evidence so they will believe in our law and trust our credibility. We don’t want to be repeatedly accused of (mishandling cases). We are not a banana republic.”

US Ambassador to Indonesia Robert Blake’s statement at the time was remarkable in its forthright condemnation.

“We are shocked and disappointed by the decision announced by the Supreme Court to sentence two international school teachers,” he said.

“In August 2015, the Indonesian High Court found that there was not sufficient evidence to support the teachers’ conviction. It is not clear what evidence the Supreme Court used to overturn the High Court’s decision. The outcome of the legal process will impact international views about the rule of law in Indonesia.”

The Australian Ambassador to Indonesia, Paul Grigson, was more measured but said in February he hoped the teachers would be acquitted in line with the Indonesian High Court decision.

“As a founding member of the board of the school we have a significant involvement in the Jakarta Intercultural School and will be following this case closely,” he said at the time.

The high-fee school, now Indonesia’s largest international school, used to be called the Joint Embassy School, after its Australian, British, American and then-Yugoslavian partners.

Mr Panjaitan said after checking with the Jakarta Police and the Attorney-General’s Office and reading the report into the case he was convinced the investigation had been professional.

“I would like to invite them (the ambassadors) and show (them the report),” Mr Panjaitan said. “After we make the presentation we will see what they say.”

Asked if he was aware the international community was following the case, Mr Panjaitan said: “I don’t care, you know I trust my own people, we have strong evidence so we’ll prove it. We will show them this is the strong evidence from the government of Indonesia. Why do we have to care so much about the critics when we have strong evidence?”

The teachers’ legal team have said they will lodge a judicial review to ask the Supreme Court to review and examine how the law had been implemented.

They said a medical document from a hospital in Belgium said one of the alleged victims had never contracted a sexually transmitted disease as had been claimed.

The legal team also claims a medical examination of one of the alleged victims in Singapore showed no signs of sexual abuse.

But Mr Panjaitan questioned the need to go as far as Belgium for evidence.

“We have independent doctors, forensic experts, specialists on genetic diseases,” he said.

Follow Jewel Topsfield on Facebook

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.