JIS Teacher Neil Bantleman Freed from Prison

August 20, 2015

In Indonesia, Neil Bantleman and teaching assistant, Ferdinand Tjiong, have thankfully been freed after serving one year of a 10-year prison sentence. From the beginning, it was widely held that the men were indicted on slanderous charges fabricated by a mother who claimed the men had molested her son. The decision to free Neil and Ferdinand follows the court’s rejection of the mother’s $124-million lawsuit against Jakarta International School in conjunction with the alleged incident.

Throughout their ordeal Bantleman and Tjiong maintained their innocence and were supported by family, colleagues, parents, students and the JIS Principal. Their release marks the long awaited end to an agonizing ordeal. The prosecution will contest the judgment, but the consensus is they do not have a viable case. Read full story

It has been said that this case calls into question the integrity of the Indonesian legal system. Why can an influential parent with an agenda thoroughly manipulate a country’s judicial system and severely impact the lives of innocent people? Although the prosecution lacked concrete evidence, they did succeed in getting a judgment against the men.

We celebrate the release of Neil Bantleman and Ferdinand Tjiong. Justice has finally been served. In light of this incident and the growing dislike of Westerners in some locales around the world, ISR asks: Would the chance you could end up as a pawn in an influential person’s agenda deter you from accepting a position in certain locations?

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IS Educator Freed After 5 Years in Indonesian Prison

July 25, 2019

Imagine being falsely convicted of child molestation in Indonesia and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Then, 1 year later, allowed to walk free, only to have the court later reinstate the conviction and return you to prison! Such was the plight of International Educator, Neil Bantleman, who found himself the victim of a wealthy Jakarta International School parent with an evil agenda.

A brief history

In 2014, Neil Bantleman and his teaching aide, Ferdinant Tjiong were unjustly imprisoned for allegedly molesting a student at Jakarta International School, Indonesia. As the case unfolded, however, it became apparent there was little to no substance to the charges. No matter! Lacking concrete evidence the prosecution succeeded in getting a conviction. The sentence: 10 years in prison.

At the time, Neil’s case called into question the integrity of the Indonesian legal system. How was a wealthy, influential parent able to thoroughly manipulate a country’s judicial system and severely impact the lives of innocent people?

Miraculously, In August of 2015, after 1 year in prison, the conviction was overturned. It appeared justice had been served. Neil and Ferdinant were free men; but, not for long. In 2016 Indonesia’s Supreme Court reinstated the conviction and added another year to the sentence. Neil was returned to prison.

In June, 2019, after serving 5 years in prison, Neil was granted clemency by the government of Indonesia. Working behind the scenes to make Neil’s release a reality, the Canadian government, Jakarta International School and Neil’s brother and wife all worked tirelessly. Ferdinant Tjiong, and five school janitors, who also maintained their innocence, have not been granted clemency, though one was released on parole this year after serving half of his sentence.

Welcome home Neil!

A history of the Neil Bantleman Case with ISR Member Comments
♦International Educators Imprisoned on Insufficient Evidence
♦Hidden Agendas in Indonesia
♦INDONESIA, Where International Teachers are imprisoned on insufficient evidence and convicted terrorists are set free for ‘good behavior’
♦JIS Teacher Neil Bantleman Freed from Prison

INDONESIA, Where International Teachers are imprisoned on insufficient evidence and convicted terrorists are set free for ‘good behavior’

April 30, 2015

  The high profile case of Jakarta International School teacher, Neil Bantleman, is a prime example of Indonesia’s current corrupt “legal” system and apparent growing disdain for Westerners. Without entering into a discussion of guilt or innocence in regards to the claim of child abuse, the trial of Neil Bantleman, if you can stretch your imagination to call it that, points to a judge and jury with an unobscured agenda: “Find him guilty!” even in the face of clear evidence to the contrary. See: Thirty-Things You Should Know About the JIS Case

  Neil Bantleman was ultimately sentenced to 10 years in prison on insufficient evidence for an alleged crime against the child of a parent now pursuing a $125-million lawsuit against Jakarta International School. This, after Indonesia released convicted terrorist Muhammad Cholili from prison on ‘good behavior.’ Even Cholili was surprised by his release. He had been convicted for helping to assemble more than 20 backpack and motorcycle bombs, some of which were used in the October, 2005 attacks in Bali, killing 20 people and leaving more than 120 others injured at the well-populated tourist areas of Kuta & Jimbaran Beach. He served less than half of his 18-year sentence.

  We are speechless. A foreign teacher is imprisoned for 10 years on inconclusive evidence and a known terrorist convicted of killing and maiming tourists is set free because he was behaving himself in prison? Based on this model, Bantleman should have already been freed. The question is, were deals cut in both cases? Is each case an example of a corrupt system where money in the right pocket gets the desired results? Is Indonesia sending a message that Westerners are not welcome? We all like to think it can’t happen to us…at least until it does. Comments?

Hidden Agendas in Indonesia?

August 7, 2014

The case of Neil Bantleman and Ferdinant Tjiong, detained in Indonesia for allegedly sexually assaulting a child at the prestigious Jakarta International School, continues to draw world-wide scrutiny. The two men, both educators, have been imprisoned now for more than three weeks with no charges levied. Under Indonesian law they can be detained for up to 60 days while police carry on an investigation. To date, however, no evidence has been released incriminating the two men and the following video makes one sincerely question the motives behind the investigation.


School lawyers report they now have a witness who says that, with the help of the police, the mother who accused the teachers met with a school cleaner who was originally charged with the crime and in custody. It is alleged she promised he would be released if he was prepared to say that JIS teachers were involved as the perpetrators of sodomy. She is also asking for $125 million in damages from the school.

Just prior to the detention of Neil Bantleman and Ferdinant Tjiong, twenty Western teachers from Jakarta International School were deported for small discrepancies in their work visas (some teachers in the elementary division had visas designated for middle school). This followed the investigation of the cleaning staff by authorities. We question why a simple grammatical correction would not have sufficed? Furthermore, the Education and Culture Ministry decreed that the term “international” is to be removed from the names of all international schools in Indonesia, and the word “international” is not be used in school programs, literature, or educational material. In a similar vein, the Education and Culture Ministry has banned the teaching of English language to elementary school children.

Is Indonesia trying to dissuade Western educators and businesses?  If so, they may well be achieving their goal at the expense of Neil Bantleman and Ferdinant Tjiong and JIS. If the good name of Jakarta International School were to be tarnished by means of such accusations of sexual improprieties, embassies and large International companies in Jakarta may find it difficult to attract Western employees with children, as well as employees from other countries.

Jakarta International School  has been transparent and supportive of their teachers throughout this ordeal.  School’s Statements

Certainly ISR is not in a position to determine the guilt or innocence of Neil Bantleman and Ferdinant Tjiong.  In accord with the position of embassies and other agencies, we believe these two men are being held without cause and encourage you to sign the petition in support of the release of Neil Bantleman and Ferdinant Tjiong: Sign the Petition

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International Educators Imprisoned on Insufficient Evidence

July 24, 2014

An ISR member writes:

“…..Neil Bantleman is being detained in a Jakarta prison along with an Indonesian teaching assistant, Ferdinant Tjiong. They have been held in prison for 10 days without being charged, held on what appears to be very little and highly questionable evidence. They face being detained without charge for many more weeks”….Read more

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