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Indonesia’s Supreme Court Upholds Sex-Abuse Conviction of International School Teachers

Bay Ismoyo—AFP/Getty Images Canadian school administrator Neil Bantleman sits in a court detention cell in Jakarta shortly before his court appearance to face a verdict on April 2, 2015

The two men were found guilty last April but the conviction was overturned in August over a lack of evidence

Two teachers at a prestigious international school in the Indonesian capital Jakarta will serve 11 years in jail for sexually abusing students after the country’s Supreme Court overruled an earlier acquittal Thursday, reports Reuters.

Canadian Neil Bantleman and his Indonesian colleague Ferdinant Tjiong were arrested in the summer of 2014 following accusations that they had raped three kindergarten-age boys at Jakarta Intercultural School, where they were teachers.

During a four-month trial, both Bantleman and Tjiong maintained their innocence — a claim corroborated by the school — but they were found guilty last April and sentenced to a decade in prison in a controversial ruling that many human-rights groups called an exercise in judicial malpractice. The conviction was overturned in August, with a judge saying there was not enough medical evidence to prove the boys had been assaulted.

On Thursday, Indonesia’s Supreme Court quashed that acquittal, restoring the pair’s earlier convictions. It is not clear whether the two men can appeal, reports Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

“This decision is unjust, given the many grave irregularities throughout the various proceedings in this case and the fact that all evidence presented by the defence has systematically been rejected,” Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion said in a statement.

[Reuters, CBC]

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