acquittal overturned in Indonesia


JAKARTA, Indonesia Indonesia supreme court has overturned the acquittals of Canadian schoolteacher Neil Bantleman and an Indonesian teacher and ordered longer prison terms for sexually abusing three young children at a prestigious international school in Jakarta.

Bantleman and Ferdinant Tijong had been sentenced to 10 years in April 2015 but they maintained their innocence and filed appeals to the High Court, which acquitted them in August.

Supreme Court spokesman Suhadi said a three member judge panel handed down a verdict Wednesday based on the prosecutors appeal and increased their sentence to 11 years.

The two teachers also were ordered to pay a $7,440 fine each or to serve six more months in jail.

The reason for the court decision was not immediately clear, nor was it clear if Bantleman can appeal.

Bantleman’s brother Guy told Global News that the news came as a shock and that the family was confident they were going to see the acquittal upheld and his brother returned to Canada.

Canada Minister of Foreign Affairs Stephane Dion issued a statement saying he by the verdict.

decision is unjust, given the many grave irregularities throughout the various proceedings in this case and the fact that all evidence presented by the defence has systematically been rejected, he said.

Bantleman and Mr. Tjiong were not provided the opportunity to demonstrate their innocence. canada goose parka Despite Canada repeated calls for due process, this case was not handled in a fair and transparent manner. indicated the outcome of this case could have serious implications for Indonesia reputation with Canadians, adding officials will continue to provide Bantleman with consular assistance.

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

Children of foreign diplomats, expatriates and Indonesia elite attend the school, which has 2,400 students aged three to 18 from about 60 countries.

The school 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 committed suicide.