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"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

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 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



 

Indonesian government reneges on Australians’ release

Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor

media release – June 9, 2001

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



 

Australians detained by Indonesian police

Reuters - June 9, 2001


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.


Indonesia says detained foreigners face questioning

Reuters - June 9, 2001


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
Phone: 61-(0)2-96901230
Fax  : 61-(0)2-96901381
Email: asiet@asiet.org.au
WWW  : http://www.asiet.org.au


Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor  Updated Mar 5
ASIET is a DSP-inspired Australian solidarity organisation which aims to educate and inform the Australian community about the continuing fight for democracy in Indonesia and the East Timorese people's struggle to rebuild their country. ASIET also supports the struggles for self-determination in Aceh and West Papua. ASIET aims to place maximum pressure on governments to adopt a pro-people foreign policy by organising activities including marches and protests, national petition campaigns, film showings, public meetings, etc.
ASIET established Indonesia - East Timor Campaign Watch in early 2000, and has published findings every 4 months since then.
Email: asiet@asiet.org.au  Homepage: http://www.asiet.org.au
East Timor info on the ASIET site is added daily.
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