*Corinne Bantleman visits a humanitarian vessel in North Jakarta during her recent visit to Indonesia. Her son Neil initiated a joint service project with students at the Jakarta Intercultural School and the organization, which delivers aid to remote islands in the region.
June 25th 2015 – http://freeneilandferdi.org
- Neil Bantleman and Ferdinant Tjiong await the outcome of their High Court appeal in Jakarta. Neil’s memorandum of appeal was filed April 29th and Ferdi’s on May 8th.
The Right Honourable Stephen Harper:
I have recently returned from Jakarta where I visited my son, Neil Bantleman, about whose plight you have been acutely aware for over a year now: yet, you continue to remain stubbornly silent in the full knowledge that he is the victim of blatant injustice. I do not wish to revisit the anguish of that reunion but need to know how you could, in all conscience, seemingly allow this unspeakable situation to remain unattended. Your Government’s cold and stock response that Canadian citizens should assume responsibility for where they choose to travel and work smacks of an easy and cowardly abdication of your Government’s responsibility to assist citizens who require help. It was our choice to emigrate to Canada, over 45 years ago, blindly believing that our interests as citizens would be among our Government’s top priorities but, alas, we have found to our dismay that such is not the case: instead, have found that our many, many requests for action have been sadly inadequate and ineffective.
What is holding you back?
My hope is that during your recent endeavours to expand trade with Indonesia, at the Indonesia-Canada Bilateral Forum, that your negotiations were based on Human Rights and that Neil’s case was thoroughly covered.
My daughter-in-law, Tracy, and I had the opportunity to meet the Canadian and British Ambassadors in an effort to try and get a sense of the focus of their direction and felt somewhat reassured that Neil’s predicament is very much on the agenda. May I be direct and ask if the Canadian Ambassador does the bidding of Ottawa – in which case, what is it? Will and courage appear to be gravely lacking, unlike Tony Abbot, of Australia who didn’t shy away from openly defending even ‘guilty’ Australian citizens, striving to the very end for clemency, whilst my ‘innocent son’ and his wife, Tracy, continue to be not only victims of evildoers but that of a Government sadly bereft of moral courage, wilfully ignoring and heartlessly abandoning them in their great hour of need. The country and the whole world are watching in incredulous disbelief.
Do you recall phoning your Mother to tell her you were safe when you emerged from your hideout following that dreadful day on The Hill last year? Well, Mr. Harper, this Mother is also waiting for that much longed-for call from her son who friends describe as extraordinary, courageous, unique and rare, whom any country would be proud to call a citizen: I just happen to have the fortune to be his Mother.
May I please have answers to the few points I have raised – the time is long overdue.
*Corinne Bantleman was born in India and moved to London in 1954, her husband then accepted a job with a major Canadian bank and the family moved to Canada in 1970. She will be 83 years in September and is visually impaired. The Bantleman family would like to recognise the CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind) for helping prepare Mrs. Bantleman for her journey to visit her son in Indonesia.