Jakarta. The Canadian government will continue to seek justice for one of its citizens, former Jakarta Intercultural School teacher Neil Bantleman, Canadian Ambassador to Indonesia Donald Bobiash said on Friday (24/06).
45-year-old Bantleman is currently serving an 11-year prison term for sexually abusing kindergarten children at the Jakarta Intercultural School, a popular school among expatriates, diplomats and wealthy Indonesians.
“The government of Canada will continue to work to ensure that Canadian national Neil Bantleman be accorded full application of Indonesian law to which he is entitled, including transparent examination of all evidence,” said Ambassador Bobiash in a statement received by the Jakarta Globe.
Bobias was responding to Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi’s earlier statement on Wednesday that the Canadian government should not intervene in the legal proceedings for Bantleman’s case.
At the request of Canada’s Foreign Minister Stephane Dion, a copy of the Indonesian Supreme Court’s decision was sent to the Canadian government on June 9.
Bobiash said Bantleman’s legal team will take the appropriate follow-up actions to respond to the latest Supreme Court ruling on the case.
Bantleman and Indonesian teaching assistant Ferdinand Tjiong were convicted on charges of sexually abusing kindergarten students at the school.
The two were originally sentenced to 10 years in jail and started serving their sentence in July 2014, but were later acquitted by the Jakarta High Court and released in August 2015, after nearly a year behind bars.
However, the Supreme Court reinstated their sentences on Feb. 25 this year, adding another year for each.
The case, which critics say was fraught with irregularities, has brought the country’s justice system under scrutiny, with Western nations raising concerns about the lack of legal certainty in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy.
*Note Neil Bantleman is now 47 years of age.