14 Jakarta detainees' letter to Alexander Downer Letter
added June 14
"The following letter has been sent to Alexander Downer, the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade by the Jakarta detainees. If you would like to add your name to the list of endorsees, please reply by email to firstname.lastname@example.org "
10-11 SMH; AAP; Reut: News reports on activists detained in Jakarta
News added June 11
"About 100 people were at the meeting when dozens of police suddenly appeared, ... They were bristling with rifles. I was there with my partner, Peter Boyle, and four-year-old daughter, Zoe. We just sat tight. They blocked off the exits and used a loud-hailer and were shouting.” Ms Pip Hinman, One of the Australians detained
9 ASIET: Indonesian government reneges on Australians’ release
Release added June 11
"Thirty-two academics, Non Government Organisation representatives and activists are back in police custody at the Jakarta Regional Police Headquarters Intelligence Section, detained against their will because of their attendance at a conference. ... They have no information on what the government intends to do with them. ... There will be vigils and demonstrations in cities around Australia at noon tomorrow, Sunday June 10, outside Indonesian consulates and Garuda Airlines offices to demand the immediate release of the conference attendees and to condemn the Indoesian government and military’s crushing of democratic discussion." Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor
Urgent support is needed from all supporters of democratic rights around the world following the June 8 police attack on an Asia Pacific solidarity conference held in Jakarta.
Foreign attendees and Indonesian organisers
have been detained without charge following the attack. 24 hours later,
32 people representing 10 countries are still in police custody, including
a four-year-old child. Several detainees are suffering from health problems,
including high blood pressure, and asthmatics amongst those in detention
do not have access to medication.
The conference was organised by the Indonesian Centre for Social Reform and Emancipation (INCREASE) and attended by participants, including several academics from around the world, with a large Australian contingent. The conference provided a forum for discussions on the impact of corporate globalisation upon the developing world, Indonesian society and different sectoral groups.
On June 8, at 2pm Jakarta time, 300 police surrounded the conference venue and 100 armed police stormed the venue and shut down the conference. The police took the 40 participants, including conference organisers and 32 foreign attendees, by truck under arms to the Jakarta Regional Police Headquarters.
Those detained include:
Dr Helen Jarvis - academic at the University of New South Wales;
Pip Hinman - National Coordinator ASIET (Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor), who is accompanied by her 4-year-old daughter;
Max Lane - Chairperson, Asia Pacific Institute
for Democracy and Development, prominent academic and translator (Australia);
Pierre Rousset - French representative of the European parliament;
Rebecca Conroy - academic in Asia-Pacific issues at Newcastle University;
Julia Perkins - teacher at Murdoch University;
Eric Toussaint - Belgian member of the Committee for the Cancellation of Third World Debt, and author;
There are foreign nationals of 10 different countries in detention.
Following the police’s closure of the conference and removal of foreign guests, right-wing Islamic fundamentalist gangs, possibly from the Anti-Communist Alliance, attacked the remaining participants as they were leaving the conference site. Two Indonesian conference attendees were injured, one was hospitalised as a result and required surgery. The timing of this vicious attack raises the possibility of police collusion with the gangs, a re-emergence of the sort of alliance between right wing terror groups and the military that we saw in the Indonesian army’s support for the militias in East Timor.
While some of the detained conference participants
were released at 2am (Jakarta time), they were asked to report back to
the police at 10am the following morning, at which point they were re-detained
and are currently being held in the Intelligence section of
the Jakarta Regional Police Headquarters. Although the police are claiming that the foreign nationals are being held because of visa irregularities, they have not spoken to any Indonesian immigration officials.
The police have on several occasions reneged on agreements with Embassy officials to release the detainees.
The attack poses some questions:
1. What right did 100 armed police have to invade a conference and detain more than 40 people simply because they suspected visa irregularities?
2. Why did the Indonesian police think it necessary to shut down an academic conference discussing the impact of economic policies on the Indonesian people?
3. Are the Indonesian police openly colluding with, and supporting violence by, right-wing fundamentalist gangs?
At a time when the Indonesian military are attempting to destabalise the democratic gains of the last few years, this blatant disregard for democratic process must be vehemently opposed.
We are asking all supporters of democratic rights to express their condemnation of these attacks through protest faxes and emails to Indonesian diplomatic offices. We also invite people to organise demostrations outside consulates, embassies and offices of Garuda Airways.
Embassy of the Republic
His Excellency Mr Arizal Effendi
8 Darwin Ave.
Yaralumla ACT 2600
Tel: (02)6250 8600
Fax: (02)6273 6017
The two focuses could be:
1. Demand the immediate release of all detained prisoners, and return of their passports
2. Condemn the Indonesian government’s closure of the conference and suppression of democratic discussion.
For more information contact email@example.com