Photo: A number of teachers and staff of the Jakarta International School (JIS) Kindergarten cried during the solidarity act for the two JIS teachers Neil Bantleman and Ferdinand Tjong, who were made as suspects by Police when they were at JIS, Jakarta, July 14, 2014. Tempo/Dian Triyuli Handoko

 TEMPO.COJakarta – Requests to expose the fabrications in the case of sexual abuse at Jakarta Intercultural School (JIS) continue to snowball. A group of people joined together under Kawan8 to give their support for the 7 convicts and 1 victim who died under police custody – Kawan8 is convinced that the 8 are victims of a fabricated case.

“Our decision to form (Kawan8) and to become volunteers stems from our moral obligation to those – who in the public eye — have been violated and denied justice,” said Arita Zulkifli, Kawan8 Coordinator, in a press release, Friday, May 20, 2016.

Arita and her friends held an act of solidarity in support of the six cleaners and two JIS teachers at Tugu Proklamasi (Proclamation Monument), Central Jakarta, tonight. Amid the somber atmosphere provided by lit candles, they testified, read poetry with music and held a vigil . “Truthfully, we were taken aback by the many irregularities in this case, and the eight people are the victims, including their families who have also been affected by the criminalization,” Arita said.

She said that the evidence presented at the High Court up to the Supreme Court level was weak and forced. The supporters became more aware after reading about the investigation conducted by the Twitter handle @kurawa which exposed numerous irregularities in the JIS case. The independent investigation set many Internet forums abuzz.

The investigation also reminded its readers that a Rp 1.6 trillion lawsuit is attached to the sexual abuse case, initiated by parents of the “sexual abuse victims” and their lawyer O.C. Kaligis—who is currently imprisoned in relation to bribery. Through the high-profile lawyer, the plaintiffs increased the compensation demand from US$ 12.5 million to US$ 125 million. The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) and several legal experts also said that the case is rife with irregularities.  “We regret having believed the stories and allegations that the media published in early 2014,” Arita said.

According to Arita, Kawan8 hopes that the convicts can reunite with their families back home and the state can rehabilitate their reputation.