Canadian teacher Neil Bantleman sits in a holding cell before hearing his verdict in a South Jakarta court April 2, 2015. (Reuters Photo/Darren Whiteside)

Indonesia Overturns Acquittal of Intl School Teachers Convicted of Student Abuse


FEBRUARY 25, 2016

[Updated on 05:20 P.M. to add comments, details]

Jakarta. Indonesia's supreme court has overturned the acquittal of two teachers, a Canadian and Indonesian, convicted of sexually abusing students at an international Jakarta school and ordered them to serve out their original sentence.

The two teachers were originally sentenced to 10 years in prison but were acquitted in August, 2015. The Supreme Court reimposed the sentence and added another year to their sentence.

"They have been sentenced again to 11 years," Supreme Court spokesman Suhadi said by phone.

Canadian national teacher Neil Bantleman and Indonesian teaching assistant Ferdinand Tjiong were convicted on charges of abusing kindergarten students at the Jakarta Intercultural School (JIS).

“This continues to raise questions about the veracity of the legal system in Indonesia. This will damage the reputation of Indonesia and how investors view the country,” said Keith Loveard of Jakarta-based Concord Consulting.

The U.S. embassy-linked school is popular among expatriates and wealthy Indonesians, who are closely tracking the case.

The U.S. embassy criticized the court's ruling, while the Canadian embassy in Jakarta called the decision “unjust” and said the case had not been handled transparently.

“The outcome of this case has serious implications for Indonesia’s reputation as a safe place for Canadians to work, travel and invest as well as for Canada’s long history of cooperation with Indonesia,” it said in an online statement.

Additional reporting by Yuddy Cahya