Neil Bantleman showing 'great resilience,' wife says

TORONTO - The family of a Canadian teacher convicted of sexually abusing children in Indonesia says they are worried squalid prison conditions could threaten his health.

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Neil Bantleman's family issued a statement on how the Ontario man has been faring since an Indonesian court overturned his acquittal last month.

Bantleman's wife Tracy says she can visit her husband for up to two hours every day and bring food and other basic supplies to him.

She says Bantleman is showing "great resilience" but notes the conditions inside the prison are deplorable and she fears his health could "easily deteriorate rapidly."

Bantleman and an Indonesian teaching assistant have maintained their innocence since they were accused of sexually abusing three children at a prestigious international school in the capital Jakarta.

Indonesia's High Court overturned their convictions last August, but prosecutors appealed to the country's supreme court which overruled the lower court last month and added an extra year to the pair's original 10 year prison sentences.

Bantleman's family is continuing to press the Canadian government to apply pressure on Indonesia, meeting with the Parliamentary Secretary for Global Affairs in Mississauga, Ont. last week.

Bantleman's brother Guy says Omar Alghabra assured him the government is working at the "highest levels" to ensure a resolution to the case.

Guy Bantleman says Neil Bantleman's mother gave a hand-written letter to Alghabra to deliver to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking him to find a way to bring her son home.

Bantleman says he is travelling to Ottawa later this week for more meetings with federal officials to discuss his brother's plight.

He also says his brother's lawyers are waiting for a written decision from the Supreme Court so they can prepare a judicial review of the case.

Canada's ambassador to Indonesia visited Bantleman in prison last Monday and told him the Canadian government is doing everything it can to bring him home.



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