Neil Bantleman appeals Jakarta child sex abuse verdict
Lawyers for Canadian teacher held in Indonesia filed appeal April 29
Lawyers for Neil Bantleman filed a formal appeal on Wednesday after the Canadian teacher was sentenced to 10 years in prison in Indonesia on child sex assault convictions. He continues to deny the allegations which he and his family say have been fabricated.
The case raised questions about the Indonesian legal system, and Bantleman's lawyers are urging the country's high court to overturn the conviction. They also plan to file an appeal for Ferdinant Tjiong, a teaching assistant who is convicted on the same charges.
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An Indonesian court found Bantleman and Tjiong guilty of child rape charges in early April and sentenced the pair to a decade behind bars.
Bantleman, a Burlington, Ont., native, also taught in Calgary. He has been in custody in Jakarta since July 2014.
Lawyers for Bantleman and Tjiong have long complained about the process the case went through, referring to evidence they said should have been included in the process that wasn't, as well as strict time limits placed on their witnesses.
They said the allegations by three children who alleged repeated rape at the Jakarta Intercultural School (formerly Jakarta International School) were conjured up to pursue a civil lawsuit against the school to the tune of $125 million US.
The JIS has about 2,400 students aged three to 18. Many of them are children of diplomats and other foreigners living in the country.
Bantleman's wife Tracy told CBC Hamilton in April her husband is teaching English to other inmates, keeping fit and reading profusely — the last book he finished was the biography of Nelson Mandela. Mandela spent 27 years in South African jails.
In a separate but related case, five janitors who worked at the school also received guilty sentences for the alleged rape of a kindergartner. They are serving up to eight years in prison.
With files from CBC's Jeff Green