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Travesty of Justice

Ferdi and Neil in jailBitter result of our colleagues’ trial this week. Corrupt legal system at the absolute lowest form. No evidence, no plausibility: no matter. She who pays the most wins.

I’ve copied some excerpts from articles that have appeared in the last few days for friends and family around the world who haven’t seen them. A lot of reading, but an important set of reading.

Wall Street Journal Indonesia Realtime Twitter feed (from the day-long verdict reading)

  • 2:07 PM: Three hours so far of judges summing up, and most of it mirrors prosecution arguments.
  • 2:31 PM: judges now going through expert defense witnesses, mostly reject their testimony.
  • 3:12 PM: Chief judge in JIS case launches tirade against media, diplomats. Says letters from supporter of Canadian educator indicate guilt.

Twitter reports from the courtroom

  • While months long trial has been behind closed door and judge imposed gag order, names of victims and parents now being openly read out.
  • Lurid details of child rape testimony now being read publicly after judge previously closed trial to protect victims identity.

The Jakarta Post

The judges dismissed the entire defense statement submitted by the defendants and their legal team, including a medical report issued by a hospital in Singapore in May 2014 stating that there were no signs of sexual assault present in one victim who was examined. The report was certified by the High Court of Singapore in February 2015.

“We disclaim the medical report as well as the Singapore court document because we have no obligation to accept a court ruling issued by another country that is related to a case we examine,” Nuraslam said.


Officials from the country’s Indonesian Children’s Protection Commission had already accused the school’s administrators of fostering an environment that led to the rapes.

During a press conference last year, the head of the commission accused JIS of impropriety by tolerating kissing in public and employing gay teachers. Asrorun Ni’am Sholeh, the commission’s chairman, later added that “homosexuality in such environment could trigger sexual violence against children.”

Sydney Morning Herald (note: this whole article gives a very good overview)

A prosecution witness, “sexologist” Dr Naek L. Tobing gave evidence Bantleman only had sex with his wife once a week, when the “norm” was every day or two to three times a week. As he also did not masturbate he would be seeking sexual outlets, he claimed.

He also did not masturbate according to the well-known Indonesian sexologist.

“There is a question how could he release his sexual desire,” said Chief Judge Nur Aslam Bustaman. “These conditions could create abnormal sexual behaviour.”


The other evidence — the boys’ testimony — includes allegations from one that he was raped multiple times during the school day in an open, heavily populated administration block with glass walls which teachers call “the aquarium”.

Among his allegations are that there was a secret underground dungeon somewhere at the school, and that Mr Bantleman, who was known as “the boss” clicked his fingers during one attack and reached up to pluck a “magic stone” out of the sky to insert in the boy’s rectum to anaesthetise him before the rape.

Other allegations include a female principal videotaping the attack and supplying a light blue drink to drug the boy.

New York Times

They said that Mr. Bantleman and Mr. Tjiong, as well as the elementary school’s American principal, Elsa Donohue, had drugged and raped the children and other students in the school’s administrative offices, and that they had videotaped the assaults. Ms. Donohue has not been detained or charged with any offense, and no videotapes of the alleged assaults were ever found.

(Dave’s note – not one single US citizen, although there were at least 3 originally named as participants or witnesses, was ever arrested. Most here consider that the result of the US Embassy applying some pretty strong behind-the-scenes pressure, which is why many Canadians are outraged at the hands-off attitude their government has taken)

Reuters UK

“We are very concerned about the impact of this proceeding on the rule of law and legal certainty,” said Lin Neumann, managing director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Jakarta, before the verdict. “Foreign investors, Americans in particular, have been watching very carefully,” he said.

Indonesia’s judicial system is seen as among the least credible and most corrupt institutions in the country, according to Transparency International.

Global News

Excerpt from a statement by Tracey Bantleman (wife of the Canadian educator):

It is disturbing to think that people cannot look objectively and critically at the facts; our husbands have been sentenced to years in jail based on allegations and opinions that could not be proven with evidence, even after a lengthy trial. My husband and Ferdi are victims of a malicious make-believe story with a multi-million dollar price tag.

U.S. Ambassador’s Statement on the Verdict of the JIS Case

We have been closely following the case of the JIS teachers.  Any case involving allegations of child abuse is sensitive.  Serious questions have arisen in this case regarding the investigative process and lack of credible evidence against the teachers.

In light of this, we are deeply disappointed with this outcome.  We look forward to the next steps in the legal process in which we hope that all the available facts in the case will be considered. We hope that the legal process as guaranteed by the Indonesian Constitution will be implemented in a fair and impartial manner.

The broad international community is following this case closely.  The outcome of the legal process and what it reveals about the rule of law in Indonesia will have a significant impact on Indonesia’s reputation abroad.

This link is to an overview of the whole series of events written by Chris Crutcher, an author who visited JIS 2 weeks ago (penned before the verdict, however).

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