The Student News Site of Taipei American School




JIS: Case Closed?


The court case involving our fellow IASAS school, JIS (Jakarta Intercultural School), is finally closed with the release of two teachers who had been jailed for allegedly having sexually abused a young boy.
The case was brought to court in April 2014 when the mother of said boy sued Jakarta Intercultural School for 125 million USD.
Six cleaners were sentenced to up to eight years’ imprisonment for allegedly raping the young boy: Afrischa Setyani, Awan Amin, Zainal Abidin, Syahrial, Agun Iskandar, Azwar. The boy also claimed that teacher Neil Bantleman and teacher assistant Ferdinand Tijong were guilty of sexual assault. They were subsequently fined and sentenced to prison for ten years.
One of the six janitors supposedly committed suicide while in custody by drinking bathroom cleanser.
According to the Jakarta Post, the trial raised serious questions about the judicial system in Indonesia as irregularities in the case were uncovered.
Dr. Hartzell, Upper School Principal, believes that JIS did everything in their power to support the two faculty.
Hartzell says, “The edict that forced JIS to change its name to Jakarta Intercultural School is emblematic of what should be a frightening shift. Clearly, Indonesia decided to assert its power in and around this case.” He views the JIS case as only one of the many instances of the Indonesian state’s unfair dealings in its system of “justice.”
TAS is home to several JIS alumna, including Ms. Sinclair, Upper School History and MUN coordinator.
She says, “It’s a huge relief to the IASAS community that Neil and Ferdi have been released. As well, it is important to remember that five other individuals, who overwhelmingly considered innocent by the international community are still in prison and awaiting the clearing of their names and their release.”
Dr. Hartzell says, “‘Now that the two men are finally freed’ seems to be the universal ending to this story, which is most disheartening.
“The janitors will rot in an Indonesian prison for the next six or seven years and needless to say, the one who “committed suicide” will not be coming back.
“Everyone jumped to the convenient conclusion that the janitors, being only janitors, just had to be guilty. Everyone jumped to the convenient conclusion that Neil and Ferdi, being JIS teachers, had to be innocent,” Hartzell says.
There is nothing substantial pointing towards who, if anyone, was guilty. The police investigation raised severe questions and are now being viewed with skepticism.
Dr. Hartzell says, “How did JIS show support for the janitors? It fired the janitorial company. Who is supporting the janitors now? As far as I can tell, no one.”
Read our previous coverage of the case here and here.
Photos courtesy of and WowShack

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