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US Appeals on Missing Rights Lawyer Ignored

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 13, 2000

Contact: Robert Jereski or Eric Guttormsen, International Federation for Aceh (212) 973-1782

Appeals by the U.S. Embassy Ignored by the Indonesian Government regarding Missing Human Rights Lawyer

A formal inquiry to high level government officials, military and police officers of Indonesia by the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta regarding the whereabouts of Jafar Siddiq Hamzah was not responded to last week, according to the consular official in charge of political affairs at the embassy. Mr. Hamzah, a U.S. resident who was pursuing a Masters Degree at the New School for Social Research in New York City, is a prominent human rights lawyer and founder of the New York City chartered non-profit organization, International Forum for Aceh.

International Forum for Aceh members in New York have been in constant contact with the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta. They have been requesting that the U.S. government adopt a stronger position in view of Mr. Hamzah's disappearance on August 5th. IFA members are urging U.S. officials to take more urgent and compelling appeals to extract, from Indonesian authorities, an account of any investigation which the Indonesian authorities may have undertaken.

Human rights organizations around the world have also demanded answers.

The International Forum for Aceh has persuaded U.S. Congresspersons to join other U.S. officials in requesting Secretary of State Madeliene Albright take a more prominent role in the appeal to Indonesian authorities.

Background can be found at http://www.etan.org/news/2000b/jafar2.htm.

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