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Illegally detained activists in Indonesia deported with no formal charges filed

by PhilLee — last modified Jul 07, 2010 11:11 AM

Friends of the Earth International is shocked by the police harassment of 15 international environmental activists. The group were arrested and detained for more than 24 hours, after Indonesian police dispersed a peaceful press conference. They are now safe and on their way to their home-countries.

Jean Marie FerrarisIn an interview, Judith Pasimio, the executive director of Friends of the Earth Philippines (LRC-KsK) said that on July 5, Jean Marie M. Ferraris, team leader of LRC-KsK’s Davao office, together with 14 other green activists were in a middle of a press conference on the ill-effects of coal-fired power plants, when some 100 Indonesian police barged in and arrested the activists.

"This outrage only shows what appears to be collusion between the Indonesian government and the Cirebon Elektrik, Ltd. We denounce how the police violently disrupted a peaceful and legitimate practice in the defence of the environment and the rights of its people" said Ms Pasimio.

"Jean went to Indonesia to share the Philippine experience on the deadly impact of coal and our own learnings from our anti-coal campaigns, particularly in Maasim, Saranggani. She kept her humour throughout the ordeal.

"We maintain that the Indonesian government should explain this affront against the rights of peoples to peacefully assemble and pursue genuine solutions to our deteriorating environment and rational utilisation of natural resources for the national interest and not for the profits of corporations,” Ms Pasimo continued.

The delegation claim that representatives of coal-fired power plant Cirebon Elektrik, Ltd. accompanied the 100 Indonesian police when they were arrested.

An emailed statement from LRC-KsK, appealed for President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III to immediately intervene and demand an explanation from the Indonesian government.

"The new administration of President Aquino must send a strong message to the international community that it is committed to protecting our citizens from abuses committed on foreign soil, even if it is by a foreign government," it stated.

background on the incident

In an email, Tuesday evening, Amalie Conchelle C. Hamoy-Obusan, one of the anti-coal campaign network members detained, said that she, together with other activists from Greenpeace and communities in China, Indonesia, Thailand and India were apprehended at around 2pm on Monday and detained for more than 24 hours.

"We were in the village simply to give support and learn from the experiences of our brothers and sisters who share the same plight as our countrymen living around coal-fired power plants," Ms. Hamoy-Obusan said in her email.

She claimed that while at the Cirebon police station, they were accused of "visa irregularities" and "engaging in activities that create instability."

"The interrogation lasted through the night and we’ve had little sleep," said Ms. Hamoy-Obusan.

One of the unilateral agreements of member-nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is that visa is not required if a citizen of any member-nation—visiting an ASEAN country—for visits of less than a week.


Photo: Jean Marie M. Ferraris courtesy of

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