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

  • Timeline of events leading up to Brexit

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- Here is a timeline of key events related to Britain's decision to leave the European Union: Jan. 23, 2013: British Prime Minister David Cameron promises a referendum on Britain's membership to the EU if the Conservative party is elected in the next general election. Source
  • Latest on Brexit: U.K. must be left worse off after split, EU presidency says

    World News CTV News
    LONDON - The Latest on Brexit (all times local): 11:05 a.m. The European Union presidency says it is "imperative" that Britain must be left with a worse option than membership once Brexit negotiations are over. Source
  • Turkey wants to talk extradition of cleric living in U.S. with Rex Tillerson

    World News CBC News
    Turkey will discuss Syria and the extradition of U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, blamed for a failed coup last July, with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson when he visits Ankara this week, Turkey's foreign minister said on Wednesday. Source
  • Purolator back to business as usual, as agreement reached with union

    Canada News CBC News
    Purolator will be accepting packages again Wednesday after the company has reached a tentative agreement overnight with its largest union, averting a strike.Purolator stops accepting new parcelsThe agreement must still be ratified by Teamsters Canada, the union representing more than 8,000 members who work at Purolator. Source
  • Raqqa residents trapped by militants ahead of assault

    World News CTV News
    BEIRUT -- As U.S.-backed forces bear down on the de facto capital of the Islamic State group, the militants have taken their strategy of hiding behind civilians further than ever before, effectively using the entire population of Raqqa as human shields. Source
  • 'How dare you say these hateful things?' Woman takes on Islamophobia at school board meeting

    Canada News CBC News
    A Toronto area woman who confronted a group of people shouting Islamophobic comments at a Peel District School Board meeting told CBC News that the energy in the room that night was "explosive" and "sick." Christina Dixon, who grew up in the Peel Region and has a child who goes to school in the district, can be seen in videos of last Wednesday's meeting standing and shouting "Shame on you!" at a man who is ripping pages out of a Qur'an. Source
  • Trudeau government's vacant appointments backlog up 80%

    Canada News CBC News
    Five months after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government assured Canadians that its new system would soon fix the backlog of appointments that need to be filled, the problem has gotten much worse. An analysis by CBC News reveals that one in three governor in council positions — ranging from directors of government agencies to members of tribunals that hear appeals of employment insurance or pension disputes — is currently vacant or occupied by an appointee whose term is past its expiry…
  • Byelection performance can be predictive of future results

    Canada News CBC News
    After the votes are counted in Monday's five federal byelections, only the parties that make gains will want to talk about the results. The others will point out that byelections are local affairs that tell us nothing about broader national trends; that they don't really matter. Source
  • 'I feel duped': Why bank employees with impressive but misleading titles could cost you big time

    Canada News CBC News
    Mike Black says he feels "completely betrayed" after trusting RBC employees with impressive-sounding titles to manage his life savings, only to earn far below the market average for six years. "I worked 35 years at two jobs and saved up a considerable amount due to the fact that I didn't have a pension and would need money for retirement," said Black, who managed to put away nearly $1 million. Source
  • Deadline for women to opt out of RCMP sex harassment settlement is today

    Canada News CBC News
    Today is the deadline for female Mounties to decide if they want to opt out of a historic sexual harassment class action lawsuit. Any woman who has worked as a civilian or regular member of the RCMP is eligible to file a claim under the negotiated settlement to compensate for on-the-job harassment and abuse. Source