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

  • Wedding ring lost 15 years ago returned

    World News Toronto Sun
    WHITE TOWNSHIP, N.J. — A Christmas tree farmer has found and returned a wedding ring a New Jersey man lost roughly 15 years ago. David Penner says his wedding band slipped off his finger during a visit to Wyckoff’s Tree Farm in White Township with his wife years ago. Source
  • B.C. boy with mysterious broken bones returned to parents

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    VANCOUVER — While watching their son and daughter play in a home near Vancouver’s children’s hospital, a couple from northern British Columbia received the news they had been praying for. The Ministry of Children and Family Development had seized their two children for the second time in October, because their five-year-old son kept suffering unexplained broken bones. Source
  • Boy, 14, killed trying to jump from NYC train to platform

    World News Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — Police say a 14-year-old boy has died while attempting to perform a dangerous stunt at a New York City subway station. The New York Police Department says the boy was riding between the cars of a southbound L train when he tried to jump onto the platform at the New Lots Avenue station in Brooklyn around 10:40 p.m. Source
  • Admitted Calgary killer testifies of assassination plan outside courthouse

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Purported gangsters planned to murder a rival gang member as he arrived at court to be sentenced for shooting his own rivals, court heard Wednesday. The Crown’s star witness in the murder conspiracy case, an admitted killer himself who has been granted immunity for his testimony, said he conducted taped conversations with all three accused. Source
  • Trump to meet with victims of Ohio State University attack

    World News Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — Donald Trump is going to try to show a more sensitive side Thursday, meeting with victims of last week’s Ohio State University attack, before taking his “thank you” road show to three more states that supported him in the election. Source
  • Dads beware: Men over 50 most at risk of Christmas-related injury

    Canada News CTV News
    The next time you see Dad hanging awkwardly off the roof trying to put up Christmas lights, don't believe him when he says "I've got this." That overconfidence puts him at higher risk of being injured in a fall this holiday season, according to the B.C. Source
  • Human rights group, worried about HIV, urges Philippines action

    World News CTV News
    MANILA, Philippines -- A human rights group says the Philippines is facing one of the fastest growing epidemics of HIV in the Asia Pacific, fueled by government policies that restrict intervention, including access to condoms by men who have sex with men. Source
  • Driver of deadly crash had history of accidents, seizures

    World News Toronto Sun
    BALTIMORE — The man who crashed a Baltimore school bus into a transit bus, killing himself and five other people, had been in at least a dozen car accidents in the past five years, had a history of seizures and other medical issues, and recently had his commercial driver’s license privileges suspended because of an outdated medical certificate, according to federal transportation investigators. Source
  • Accused pizza shop gunman says he regrets how he handled the situation

    World News Toronto Sun
    SALISBURY, N.C. — The man accused of firing an assault rifle inside a Washington restaurant said he regrets how he handled the situation but refused to completely dismiss the false online claims involving a child sex ring that brought him there. Source
  • Police arrest 18-year-old in baseball bat attack on Hamilton teen

    Canada News CBC News
    Hamilton police have arrested and charged an 18-year-old with aggravated assault and robbery in connection with the attack on Noah Rabbani, the 15-year-old who was brutally beaten while walking home from a friend's house late last month. Source