Neil Bantleman held in cell with 300 other prisoners, wife says

The wife of a Canadian school teacher acquitted of abusing children at a private school in Indonesia says she is "outraged" after the Southeast Asian country's Supreme Court overturned the decision.

See Full Article

Neil Bantleman and his fellow teacher Ferdinand Tjiong were sentenced to 10 years in prison last April for allegedly abusing three children. Both appealed to the country's High Court and they were acquitted in August.

But that acquittal was overturned on Wednesday and Bantleman turned himself in to Indonesia custody.

In an appearance on CTV News Channel Sunday, his wife Tracy Bantleman said she was "shocked" and "outraged" by the decision.

"The decision that was made by the Supreme Court was simply rushed reckless and unjust," said Bantleman.

"When he found out he was absolutely shattered."

Bantleman said the family's lawyers have spoken to her husband and told her he is "OK."

"He has shown such bravery in the face of a blatant injustice. I'm extremely proud of this honourable man," she said.

"He is incredible for what he has had to do for a second time: Go back into prison being innocent."

After communicating with authorities through the Canadian Embassy, Bantleman returned from Bali to surrender.

He was then admitted to Cipinang Penitentiary Institution in Jakarta, where Tjiong was also placed in custody.

Bantleman said the next step is to ensure her husband's safety inside the prison.

"Right now he is being held in a cell with 300 other prisoners – this is not a safe location," she said.

Once they have received an official copy of the Supreme Court's verdict, which can take up to a month, Bantleman said the couple's lawyers can file a judicial review through the district court.

Both Bantleman and Tjiong worked at the Jakarta International School, which is now called the Jakarta Intercultural School.

The institution's ranks include the children of foreign diplomats and expatriates from about 60 countries along with Indonesia's elite.

The school's principal and a number of other teachers have said they believe Bantleman is innocent.

Last December, five janitors at the school who were arrested in the same case were sentenced to up to eight years in jail. Police said a sixth suspect in that group died of suicide.

Bantleman said part of the reason her husband didn't return to Canada after he was released in August was that he wanted to continue to fight on his colleague's behalf.

"Neil is going to fight this to the bitter end -- he is innocent. He will not leave (Tjiong) and the innocent cleaners," she said.

Bantleman said the prosecutor's office had also issued a travel ban and immigration officers held his passport, so leaving required their co-operation.

She added that his travel ban expired on February 21, and media coverage indicated that the prosecution pushed the Supreme Court to make a decision around the time of its expiry.

Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion said earlier this week that the Canadian government was "shocked" by Supreme Court's decision, and that the case "was not handled in a fair and transparent manner."

Dion added that Canada would continue to raise Bantleman's case at the highest levels and officials would provide him with consular assistance.

On Sunday, Tracy Bantleman said she was "extremely pleased" with the government's response. She said its efforts helped ensure that her and husband were able to return to Jakarta safely.

"The Canadian government … has been outstanding in their approach, and I feel as though they will not give up on us,' she said.

"It is clear that they want to send a message to Indonesia that this must be corrected."

With files from The Associated Press



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • No reports of Canadian casualties in Mexico earthquake: Freeland

    World News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says there are no reports of Canadian casualties following a magnitude 7.1 earthquake that killed dozens in Mexico. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centred near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 123 kilometres southeast of Mexico City. Source
  • Deadly 7.1 magnitude earthquake kills 189 in central Mexico [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    MEXICO CITY — A magnitude 7.1 earthquake jolted central Mexico on Tuesday, collapsing some buildings, cracking the facades of others and scattering rubble on streets on the anniversary of a devastating 1985 quake. The quake caused buildings to sway sickeningly in Mexico City and sent panicked office workers streaming into the streets, but the full extent of the damage was not yet clear. Source
  • Would-be ISIS fighter caught threatening to bomb girlfriend's car

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    As a wannabe ISIS fighter, Ismael Habib had all the wrong moves. The Montreal native was stuck in Canada while his wife, in Syria with their children, kept bugging him to get on a plane and join the fight. Source
  • Bernardo postpones day parole hearing until 2018

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    How he toys with them yet again. Set to seek day parole next month, schoolgirl killer Paul Bernardo has now decided to postpone his hearing until October 2018, the Toronto Sun has learned. For the French and Mahaffy families, it’s a temporary respite. Source
  • New Zealand officials cancel flights due to fuel shortage

    World News CTV News
    WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- New Zealand's lawmakers and public employees were told Tuesday to cancel all nonessential flights to and from Auckland as a fuel shortage at the nation's largest airport continued to disrupt the travel plans of thousands of people. Source
  • Gender-based ticket pricing sparks death threats against B.C. filmmakers

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    VICTORIA — The filmmakers behind a comedic web series in British Columbia are facing fierce backlash after they tried to tackle economic disparity with ticket prices. Organizers for the Victoria premier of “Building the Room” used “justice pricing” when tickets went on sale last week, with white males being charged $20, while others paid $10. Source
  • Mother demands answers after son, 8, put in restraints and injected on first day of school

    Canada News CBC News
    A Toronto-area mother is searching for answers after she says her son was taken to a hospital alone in the back of a police car, placed in restraints and injected with a sedative after acting out on the first day of school. Source
  • Trump's 'sovereignty' pitch at UN could be good news for autocrats

    World News CBC News
    Threatening to "totally destroy" North Korea. Prophesying that some nations in the room are "going to Hell." Warning diplomats they "haven't heard the last of" his attacks against the Iran nuclear deal. Beyond the dark picture of the world U.S. Source
  • Deadly 7.1 magnitude earthquake hits central Mexico [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    MEXICO CITY — A magnitude 7.1 earthquake jolted central Mexico on Tuesday, collapsing some buildings, cracking the facades of others and scattering rubble on streets on the anniversary of a devastating 1985 quake. The quake caused buildings to sway sickeningly in Mexico City and sent panicked office workers streaming into the streets, but the full extent of the damage was not yet clear. Source
  • Suspect tells court he had sex with prostitute, but didn't rape and beat her

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    The suspect in the brutal rape of a Calgary woman in a downtown parkade testified Tuesday someone else was responsible for the attack. Andy Dick Ntunaguza told a two-woman, 10-man jury he had consensual sex with the woman after paying her $50. Source