10.22.2011

Indonesia Institute MEDIA RELEASE-Goodbye Young Mukhtar. Sorry We Stole 15 months of Your Teenage Years!



                http://www.theindonesianinstitute.org


Indonesia Institute
Indonesia Institute Inc.
(The Indonesia Institute is a Western Australia-based and internationally recognized non-government organization established to represent Australian and Indonesian social, cultural, political and community interests.
It acts as an effective and responsible lobby group to government and facilitates networking opportunities for those interested in Indonesia-Australia affairs.

 
MEDIA RELEASE
Goodbye Young Mukhtar. Sorry We Stole 15 months of
Your Teenage Years!
Mukhtar flew out at of Perth at 2pm yesterday heading to the remote Indonesian island of Rote on the regular Garuda Indonesia flight via Bali after a 15 months stay in Western Australia.
But Mukhtar didn't check-in like we do. He was whisked through a special security section of Perth International Airport; undetected except by customs and immigration staff.
Now an 'adult' - having just turned 18 - Mukhtar never saw Cottesloe Beach or the Swan River during his stay in WA. He never visited the theme parks or went fishing off iconic Rottnest Island, but he did get to see the inside of an adult  jail, because this boy had been  locked-up in WA's Hakea maximum security adult prison in the Perth suburb of Canning Vale for the entire 15months.
So why all the secrecy? Why were requests to contact the boy by some media outlets declined?
Because the Australian Government has a real problem with Mukhtar and his 15 months 'holiday' in WA:  Mukhtar has never been convicted of any crime in Australia.
All he ever did was to accept a job worth a year's wage ($400) on a fishing boat as a deckhand. Sadly for Mukhtar, that fishing boat was bringing asylum-seekers from Indonesia to Christmas Island.
Even though Mukhtar was only 16 when offered the job on this boat, he would be treated by Australian authorities as a 'people smuggler'.
Last week the District Court in Perth threw out all charges against the teenager.
Not only was he not paid any compensation for having 15 months of his teenage life stolen from him, this boy also had his $4.00 per day salary - that he had earned whilst in Hakea by working every day - confiscated and used by authorities in Perth to buy him a one-way ticket home.
"I can only imagine the outcry that would occur in Australia, if Indonesian authorities treated the Australian teenager being held in Bali in this way", said Ross Taylor, chairman of the Australia-based Indonesia Institute. "There would be outrage".
Mr. Taylor said that Mukhtar was only one of some 50 other Indonesian children who were being held in Australian prisons.
"We must remember that many of these kids have never been convicted, or even put on trial", said Mr. Taylor. "Yet, they waste-away in our jails whilst mixing with adult prisoners. Most of the children have had no contact with their families back home in Indonesia, and have not been able to send home their meager wages earned whilst working within the prison system".
Mr. Taylor said it was 'massive hypocrisy for the Australian Government to be 'grandstanding' about an Australian boy being held in Bali, whilst up to 50 Indonesian children are incarcerated here in Australia.
"The Aussie boy in Bali needs to be sent home as soon as possible." said Taylor. "He made a mistake; teenage Australian boys do make mistakes. And so do teenage Indonesian boys. They all should be sent home to their families now!".
END
For further information please contact:
Ross B. Taylor
Chairman
Indonesia Institute Inc.,
Tel: 1300 793 144
HP: 0412 446 512 (Local)
HP: + 61. 412 446 512 (International)
HP - Indonesia: +62 812 8689 0076
www.indonesia-institute.org.au

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