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Neil Bantleman trial in Indonesia needs more Canadian pressure, NDP says

01/17/2015 11:02 EST | Updated 03/19/2015 05:59 EDT
The Canadian government should apply more pressure in the trial of Neil Bantleman in Indonesia, said two MPs from the NDP on Friday.

The NDP is concerned about the circumstances of [Bantleman's] arrest, detention and trial," said Paul Dewar, MP for Ottawa Centre and Wayne Marston, MP for Hamilton-Stoney Creek in a statement. The MPs are the official opposition critics for foreign affairs and consular affairs, respectively. 

Neil Bantleman faces allegations he and teaching assistant Ferdinant Tjiong were part of the alleged rape of three kindergarten aged kids at the Jakarta Intercultural School (JIS), formerly the Jakarta International School.

Five janitors from the school have been convicted in a related case. Six had been arrested, although one died while in custody. One of the mothers of the accusers has filed a $125-million (USD) civil lawsuit.

Bantleman and Tjiong have been in police custody since July 2014, and could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted. Their trial is expected to last three months, during which Bantleman's family is urging Ottawa to publicly declare its support for the Ontario man.

Bantleman taught in Calgary for 10 years before working at the Jakarta International School.

"We echo the concerns raised by the embassies of the United States, United Kingdom and Australia about the detention of Mr. Bantleman, who was held for three months without being charged," Dewar and Marston's statement continued.

"Accordingly, we urge the Government of Canada to press Indonesian authorities to ensure that Mr. Bantleman’s rights are properly safeguarded throughout his trial, in strict accordance with international norms."

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