IP rights activist from Davao detained in Indonesia freed

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/07 July) — Indonesian authorities last night released an official of an indigenous peoples’ rights advocacy group here along with 12 other foreign activists who were arrested Monday in West Java for causing “instability”.

Jean Marie Ferraris, Davao team leader of the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center-Kasama sa Kalikasan regional office here, is on her way back to the Philippines and is expected to arrive 8 p.m. today , Judy Pasimio, LRC-KsK executive director, told MindaNews.

Pasimio, who was in this city for a gathering of indigenous peoples, said they have already established communication with Ferraris right after the release.

She added that Indonesian authorities accompanied them to the airport in Jakarta since their departure was also being monitored.

Ferraris was among the13 persons coming from international NGOs who were arrested by Indonesian police after holding a press conference following a training activity in Cirebon, West Java.

On Tuesday evening, while waiting to be released, Ferraris was able to talk to MindaNews via the internet using a laptop owned by one of her fellow detained activists.

She posted a status on her Facebook account which said “waiting to be free.”

In a report released to the media, LRC-KsK disclosed that the police arrested them for “alleged visa irregularities.”

But when the allegation was disproved, the report stated, the police accused them of engaging in activities that caused “instability.”

“Their interrogation lasted through the night during which they had very little sleep or rest. The following morning, without filing any charges, the police turned them over to the immigration authorities, who also dragged their feet in resolving the issue,” the report added.

Ferraris herself also bared that Indonesian authorities could hardly find any grounds to deport them.

The report further said:

“The activists were finally released at around 10pm last night, July 6 and were told they were being subjected to “monitored deportation” which means they will all be escorted by immigration officials until they board their planes and depart for their home countries. Monitored deportation means their passports will not get the “red stamp” which would have meant a ban on their future entry into Indonesia.” (Keith Bacongco/MindaNews)