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Saturday, April 04, 2015

Canadian Teacher Jailed For 10 Years For Sexually Abusing Children At JIS

More trouble brewing for JIS as another employee participated in Islamic fundamentalist attack on English teacher's home after closing children's English school in Palabali; 5th Estate report including CCTV of attack coming soon    

By Simon Tomlinson For Mail Online

A Canadian teacher was jailed for ten years today after being found guilty of sexually abusing children at an elite international school in Indonesia.

Neil Bantleman
Neil Bantleman, who also holds British nationality, was afforded one final kiss from his wife before being led away by police after the verdict was handed down. 

The sentence sparked outrage from his supporters, including the school itself and the international community, who insist he is innocent and expressed concern over the rule of law in Indonesia.

In a packed courtroom, the administrator was convicted of abusing three young boys at the Jakarta Intercultural School, which has for decades been favoured by expatriates and wealthy Indonesians.

Also standing trial for abusing the children is Ferdinand Tjiong, an Indonesian teaching assistant at the school. A verdict on his case was to be handed down later today. 

Both men, who have strongly denied committing abuse, received backing from the school, parents, and the international community.

Their supporters have said the case is deeply flawed and motivated by a bid by one alleged victim's family to get compensation from the school. 

Jakarta International School
Following the verdict, Canada and Britain called for the authorities to follow due legal process, while America said it was 'deeply disappointed' and warned it could damage Indonesia's reputation.

After nine hours reading the verdict at South Jakarta District Court, presiding judge Nur Aslam said that Bantleman was guilty of abusing the children.

'The defendant did not admit his crime or express regret for his deeds, nor did he apologise for what he did, which psychologically damaged underage children,' she said.

He was sentenced to ten years in jail and ordered to pay a fine of 100 million rupiah (£5,200).

Prosecutors had sought a 12-year term.

To applause and cheers from his supporters, who included many parents at the school, Bantleman said that he would appeal the verdict: 'We will continue to fight until the truth comes out.'

Her voice breaking with emotion, his wife Tracy Bantleman said that she was 'deeply disturbed and appalled by the decision of the panel of judges. 

'They have absolutely, utterly ignored evidence in support of my husband'. 

The scandal, which erupted in April last year with accusations of abuse levelled at cleaning staff, has sparked deep unease among Jakarta's expatriate community and foreign governments alike.

Islamic fundamentalists attack the home of English teachers after closing down free English school for poor children and orphans in Palabali

U.S. ambassador to Indonesia, Robert Blake, said there were serious questions about 'the investigative process and lack of credible evidence against the teachers'.

U.S. ambassador to Indonesia, Robert Blake needs to first
take a hard look at his staff for pedophilia before questioning
the integrity and professionalism of Indonesian investigators
'We are deeply disappointed with this outcome... 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.'

The British Embassy in Jakarta said in a statement there were 'concerns about irregularities in this case'.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson said that Canada had 'called for a fair and transparent trial throughout the judicial process'.

Accusations of assault at the school - formerly known as the Jakarta International School - initially sparked horror among the expatriate community.

Former U.S. ambassador to Indonesia Ralph
But the focus soon shifted to what supporters say was an unfair attempt to target Bantleman and Tjiong by Indonesia's notoriously corrupt police and judicial system.

Supporters have accused police of a botched investigation, and point to unfair trials, which the judge closed to the public as they involved children. 

The court was open to the public for the reading of the verdicts.

The prosecution insists that the testimony of the alleged victims, all boys, is the truth and that their claims are backed up by evidence from medical examinations.

However, the defence argues the medical exams were flawed.

Fundamentalists riot in front of English teacher's home threatening to burn it down; one teacher an Indonesian national and wife of American English teacher and retired journalist; fundamentalists looted, trashed newly finished English school howling that teachers and the school were "Taking their children away from Islam," threatening to burn down their home and kill both

The men have said the decision to prosecute them revolved around a separate lawsuit filed by the family of one of the alleged victims, which demands $125million in compensation from the school.

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