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)
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
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. The conference participants were detained when 100 armed-police forcibly broke up the conference organised by the Indonesian Centre for Reform and Social Emancipation (INCREASE).
Although several participants were released at 2am this morning (Jakarta time), they were re-imprisoned eight hours later when they reported to the police as they had been asked. This included the National Coordinator of Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor (ASIET), Pip Hinman and her four-year-old daughter, Zoe. The thirty-two activists include all the Australians detained yesterday, as well as Auckland City Councillor Marie Leadbetter, INCREASE director and conference organiser Kelik Ismunanto, French representative to the European parliament Pierre Rousset and others.
ASIET spoke to the detainees at 1.45pm Jakarta time by mobile phone. It is now nearly 24 hours since they were removed at gunpoint from the conference venue. They were held for seven hours overnight with no food and little water. Despite the government’s claim that they are being held for visa irregularities, none of the detainees have spoken with anyone from the Indonesian immigration department.
They have no information on what the government intends to do with them. A few of the detainees are suffering medical problems that they have not been able to get medical treatment for. ASIET is demanding that the Indonesian government immediately release all those detained, and restore their passports. 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.
Contacts: Dick Nichols
- 0413 031 108
Susan Price - 0402 301 290
Iggy Kim - 0421 326 987
Sydney—Twenty Australians and 13 other foreigners were detained late into Friday night by police in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta after attending a seminar on Asian workers rights, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said on Saturday.
A DFAT spokeswoman told Reuters on Saturday that the Australians had been eventually released but had been forced to surrender their passports to Indonesian authorities and would undergo further questioning on Saturday.
Armed police broke up the seminar, which had been convened to discuss political, human and social rights in Indonesia and in the Asia Pacific region, the spokeswoman said.
Indonesian activists, including members of the Indonesian Centre for Reform and Social Emancipation attending an Asia Pacific Institute for Democratisation and Development seminar, were also detained.
“Maybe 50 or 60 police stormed into the meeting room armed with guns, including rifles held in an offensive stance,” Max Lane, one of the Australians involved, said on ABC radio on Saturday morning. “They barked something over a loudspeaker in Indonesian language, creating quite a tense and worrying situation,” he said.
Officials from the Australian Embassy in Jakarta negotiated at Metropolitan Jakarta Police Station, where the Australians were being held, until late last night, the Australian Foreign Affairs spokeswoman told Reuters.
Indonesian police said the Australians may have violated immigration laws by entering the country as tourists instead of applying for visas to attend the conference. “We will push for a speedy resolution but can’t interfere with the judicial process,” the DFAT spokeswoman said. She would not reveal the names of the Australians involved.
Soraya Permatasari, Jakarta—Indonesian police said on Saturday that more than 30 foreigners, including a four-year-old girl, detained at a human rights seminar were suspected of immigration violations and would be questioned next week.
Police detained the foreigners, among them 20 Australians, after breaking up a seminar on worker and human rights on Friday, but allowed them to return to their Jakarta hotels on Saturday after initial questioning. Police confiscated their passports and ordered them to report to police again on Monday.
“They are all suspects for violating the immigration law,” Jakarta police spokesman Anton Bahrul Alam told reporters, adding they were released after their embassies guaranteed all would return on Monday. They face a maximum penalty of five years in jail or a 25 million rupiah ($2,230) fine if convicted of immigration violations.
Participants at the seminar, attended by about 300 people, said armed police stormed the hotel on the outskirts of Jakarta on Friday afternoon where it was being held.
The four-year-old, Zoe Hinman from Sydney, was with her parents, officials said. Among the others were nationals from Japan, New Zealand, Britain, the United States, Thailand, Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada, Pakistan and Germany, officials said. Police said most spent Friday night in police detention.
One of the Australian detainees, Helen Jarvis, an associate professor at the University of New South Wales, told ABC radio by telephone the experience had been unpleasant. “We have the protection of the [Australian] embassy, which has been very valuable. But the Indonesian friends who organised the conference were beaten up badly and also one of them has been interrogated,” she said. Police did not comment on the allegations, although several Indonesian activists detained have been released.
Conference organisers accused police of using brutal tactics more in keeping with the authoritarian rule of disgraced former President Suharto. They said police had claimed the event was aimed at disrupting an impeachment hearing of embattled President Abdurrahman Wahid scheduled for August.
Alam said the event was halted because of the presence of the foreigners, who he earlier said had entered Indonesia as tourists. Foreigners attending seminars in Indonesia usually need to obtain visas beforehand, but many foreign nationals, including Australians, can visit as tourists without visas.
One participant said Friday’s raid caused some panic. “Maybe 50 or 60 police stormed into the meeting room armed with guns, including rifles held in an offensive stance,” Max Lane, an Australian, said on ABC radio. “They barked something over a loudspeaker in Indonesian language, creating quite a tense and worrying situation.”
Action in Solidarity with
Indonesia and East Timor (ASIET)
PO Box 458, Broadway NSW 2007 Australia
Fax : 61-(0)2-96901381
WWW : http://www.asiet.org.au