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Protest Jakarta Police Attack On Conference

Protest Jakarta police attack on solidarity conference

Jakarta police attack conference, detain foreign academics and other conference attendees.

Dear friends,

Urgent support is needed from all supporters of democratic rights around the world following a police attack on an Asia Pacific NGO conference discussing the impact of the Asia Pacific economic crisis held in Jakarta.

Foreign attendees, and Indonesian organisers have been detained without charge following the attack. 24 hours later, 32 people representing 10 countries are still in police custody, including a four-year-old child. Several detainees are suffering from health problems, including high blood pressure, and asthmatics amongst those in detention do not have access to medication.

The conference was organised by the Indonesian Centre for Social Reform and Emancipation (INCREASE) and attended by participants, including several academics from around the world, with a large Australian contingent. The

conference provided a forum for discussions on the impact of corporate globalisation upon the developing world, Indonesian society and different sectoral groups.

On June 8, at 2pm Jakarta time, 300 police surrounded the conference venue and 100 armed police stormed the venue and shut down the conference. The

police took the 40 participants, including conference organisers and 32 foreign attendees, by truck under arms to the Jakarta Regional Police Headquarters.

Those detained include:

Dr Helen Jarvis - academic at the University of New South Wales;
Pip Hinman - National Coordinator ASIET (Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor), who is accompanied by her 4-year-old daughter;
Max Lane - Chairperson, Asia Pacific Institute for Democracy and Development, prominent academic and translator (Australia);
Pierre Rousset - French representative of the European parliament;
Rebecca Conroy - academic in Asia-Pacific issues at Newcastle University;
Julia Perkins - teacher at Murdoch University;
Eric Toussaint - Belgian member of the Committee for the Cancellation of Third World Debt, and author;

There are foreign nationals of 10 different countries in detention.

Following the police's closure of the conference and removal of foreign guests, right-wing Islamic fundamentalist gangs, possibly from the Anti-Communist Alliance, attacked the remaining participants as they were leaving the conference site. Two conference attendees were injured, one was hospitalised as a result and his or her condition is currently unclear. The timing of this vicious attack raises the possibility of police collusion

with the gangs, a re-emergence of the sort of alliance between right wing terror groups and the military that we saw in the Indonesian army's support for the militias in East Timor.

While some of the detained conference participants were released at 2am Jakarta time, they were asked to report back to the police at 10am the following morning, at which point they were re-detained and are currently being held in the Intelligence section of the Jakarta Regional Police Headquarters. Although the police are claiming that the foreign nationals are being held because of visa irregularities, they have not spoken to any Indonesian immigration officials.

The police have on several occasions reneged on agreements with Embassy officials to release the detainees.

The attack poses some questions:

1. What right did 100 armed police have to invade a conference and detain more than 40 people simply because they suspected visa irregularities? 2. Why did the Indonesian police think it necessary to shut down an academic conference discussing the impact of economic policies on the Indonesian people? 3. Are the Indonesian police openly colluding with, and supporting violence by, right-wing fundamentalist gangs?

At a time when the Indonesian military are attempting to destabalise the

democratic gains of the last few years, this blatant disregard for democratic process must be vehemently opposed.

We are asking all supporters of democratic rights to express their condemnation of these attacks and to:

1. Demand the immediate release of all detained prisoners, and return of

their passports.

2. Condemn the Indonesian government's closure of the conference and suppression of democratic discussion.

Fax the Indonesian embassy in Canberra at +61 2 6250 8666, +61 2 6273 6017 and +61 2 6273 3545.

For more information contact asiet@asiet.org.au.

ASIET -- Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor MEDIA RELEASE

DATE: SATURDAY JUNE 9, 2001. 4.30pm FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

INDONESIAN GOVERNMENT RENEGES ON AUSTRALIANS' RELEASE 4 YEAR-OLD CHILD BACK IN DETENTION

Thirty-two academics, Non Government Organisation representatives and activists are back in police custody at the Jakarta Regional Police Headquarters Intelligence Section, detained against their will because of their attendance at a conference. The conference participants were detained when 100 armed-police forcibly

broke up the conference organised by the Indonesian Centre for Reform and Social Emancipation (INCREASE). Although several participants were released at 2am this morning (Jakarta

time), they were re-imprisoned eight hours later when they reported to the police as they had been asked. This included the National Coordinator of

Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor (ASIET), Pip Hinman and her four-year-old daughter, Zoe.

The thirty-two activists include all the Australians detained yesterday, as well as Auckland City Councillor Marie Leadbetter, INCREASE director and

conference organiser Kelik Ismunanto, French representative to the European parliament Pierre Rousset and others. ASIET spoke to the detainees at 1.45pm Jakarta time by mobile phone. It is now nearly 24 hours since they were removed at gunpoint from the conference venue. They were held for seven hours overnight with no food and little water. Despite the government's claim that they are being held for visa irregularities, none of the detainees have spoken with anyone from the Indonesian immigration department. They have no information on what the government intends to do with them. A few of the detainees are suffering

medical problems that they have not been able to get medical treatment for. ASIET is demanding that the Indonesian government immediately release all those detained, and restore their passports. There will be vigils and demonstrations in cities around Australia at noon tomorrow, Sunday June 10, outside Indonesian consulates and Garuda Airlines offices to demand the immediate release of the conference attendees and to condemn the Indonesian government and military's crushing of democratic discussion.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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