In a statement released Friday, the party’s critics for foreign affairs and consular affairs said Neil Bantleman’s rights should be “properly safeguarded … in strict accordance with international norms.”
Bantleman, an educator, is currently on trial in Indonesia’s capital of Jakarta for allegedly raping three boys at the international school where he worked. Arrested in July of last year, he has been held without charges for more than three months.
NDP’s foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar and consular affairs critic Wayne Marston said in their statement the party is “concerned about the circumstances of the arrest, detention and trial” of Bantleman.
Held in a maximum-security prison, Bantleman has said he fears for his safety and also alleges shoddy investigative procedures and denial of consular access on the part of local police. He faces a maximum of 15 years in prison if convicted.
Canada’s minister of state for foreign and consular affairs, Lynne Yelich, told the Star the government has indeed “pressed” Indonesian authorities on Bantleman’s treatment — and will continue to do so.
In a statement Saturday night, she said senior Canadian officials, including her and the Canadian ambassador to Indonesia, have been in talks with local authorities to provide Bantleman a “timely and transparent trial.”
“Canadian consular officials will continue to be actively engaged in Mr. Bantleman’s case as the trial unfolds,” she said.
But the government has not publicly made requests to Indonesia on Bantleman’s treatment, something his brother in Burlington, Guy Bantleman, has been lobbying for months. He said the NDP’s statement “paves the way very well” for the government to do so.
Bantleman’s subsequent court appearance is Tuesday.