BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor      home    June news

"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

Background:

Jun 9 ASIET: Jakarta police attack conference, detain foreign academics and attendees  Petition added June 10
"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. ... 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." ASIET (Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor)

Up-dates:

Jun 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 asiet@asiet.org.au "

Jun 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



 

Appeal for calm over Jakarta detainees

Sydney Morning Herald - June 11, 2001

Craig Skehan, Malcolm Brown and Lindsay Murdoch—Australian diplomats warned protesters last night against inflammatory action as attempts continued to get 18 Australians, accused of visa violations for attending a political conference in Jakarta, out of Indonesia. However, a protest outside the Indonesian Consulate in Maroubra went ahead yesterday as scheduled.

The Australians, among 32 foreigners who had their passports seized after being released from cells, face more questioning this morning at Jakarta’s central police station and possible passport charges.

A Foreign Affairs Department spokesman in Canberra said yesterday: “We hope and fully expect the 18 remaining detainees will be out of the country in a matter of days.

“Consular officials have been working around the clock to resolve this matter quickly through negotiation with Indonesian authorities.

“It does appear that the people attending the conference have breached visa requirements. Visa breaches are always taken seriously in Indonesia and Australians should be aware of that.”

Rights activists involved in the conference described the behaviour of the police on Thursday as “barbaric and uncivilised”, saying they had stood by as sword-wielding Muslims beat-up participants after the foreigners were taken away.

Others detained included people from New Zealand, the United States, Pakistan, Japan, England, Belgium, Canada, France and Thailand.

One of the Australians, Ms Pip Hinman, who was later released with her young daughter Zoe, spoke on her return to Sydney yesterday about how heavily armed police burst into the conference, at a hotel at Depok, south of Jakarta.

About 100 people were at the meeting when dozens of police suddenly appeared, she said. “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.”

The foreigners were taken to the police station but were later allowed to go to a hotel, so long as they remained there. Because Ms Hinman was the only person with a child she had been allowed to fly home. Mr Boyle had to stay behind. Ms Hinman said she had gone to Indonesia with Mr Boyle and Zoe on a four-week holiday and that the conference, on labour and social issues, had “fitted in”.
The gathering, billed as the Asia Pacific People’s Solidarity Conference and referred to on the Internet as “The People’s Struggle Against Neo-liberalism and Militarism in Asia-Pacific”, had invited international participation.  Organised by the Indonesian National Student League for Democracy, it had sought police approval but this had not been granted before it began, Ms Hinman said.
Two other Australians detained were named by conference organisers yesterday as a NSW academic, Ms Helen Jarvis, and her husband, Mr Allen Myers.



 

Local politician arrested in Indonesia could return soon

Australian Associated Press – June 10, 2001

G. K. Goh, Auckland—A local politician from New Zealand arrested at gun-point in Jakarta is counting on her country’s embassy to ensure she is able to return home soon, it was reported Sunday Longtime peace activist and Auckland city councillor Marie Leadbeater was arrested in the Indonesian capital on Friday along with 29 other foreign nationals. They were detained for attending what Jakarta’s police chief called an illegal political gathering, Television One News reported in New Zealand Sunday night. Leadbeater has since been released from custody but was told she could be jailed for up to five years for allegedly attending an unauthorised gathering.

New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff said Sunday his country’s embassy was making efforts to ensure Leadbeater returned home as planned Monday. Leadbeater told TV One news from her hotel room in Jakarta that armed police had stormed the conference for Asian and Pacific people that she was attending.



 

Two Australians allowed home after Jakarta detention

Reuters – June 10, 2001

Sydney—A four-year-old Australian girl and her mother, among more than 30 foreigners detained at a human rights seminar in Jakarta, returned to Sydney on Sunday, Australian officials said.

The two, detained by police on Friday, were allowed to leave Indonesia for humanitarian reasons, after sustained negotiations by Australian Embassy officials, a spokeswoman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade told Reuters. Both would attend a protest rally in Sydney over the continued detentions, ABC radio said on Sunday.

The 18 other Australians, accused by Indonesian police of attending the seminar while holding only tourist visas, remained in the Indonesian capital and were required to report to police on Monday, the department spokeswoman said. “Hopefully it [the detention of the foreigners] will be resolved tomorrow [Monday],” she said.

Indonesian police said on Saturday more than 30 foreigners, including four-year-old Zoe Hinman from Sydney, had been detained on suspected immigration violations.  After breaking up the seminar on Friday and detaining the foreigners late into the night, Indonesian police confiscated their passports. They face a maximum penalty of five years in jail or a 25 million rupiah (US$2,230) fine if convicted of immigration violations.

Participants at the seminar, attended by about 300 people, said armed police stormed the event on Friday afternoon where it was being held in a hotel on the outskirts of Jakarta. Among the others detained were nationals from Japan, New Zealand, Britain, the United States, Thailand, Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada, Pakistan and Germany, officials said.

The incident raised concerns about the civil rights of Indonesians involved, Dick Nichols from the group Action and Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor said on ABC radio on Sunday. “What will happen to the people who organised the conference, the Indonesians, once the spotlight is off this whole thing?” he asked. “That’s of great concern.”


BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor      home    June news
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