INDONESIA: Two foreigners and one local interpreter detained and harassed by the police in Aceh


Urgent Appeal Case: UA-47-2002
ISSUES: Arbitrary arrest & detention,

Two foreigners and one local interpreter detained and harassed by the police in Aceh

INDONESIA: Basic human rights denied; illegal arrest, detention and denial of rights to access to legal aid and medical treatment


The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has been informed that two foreigners and one Acehnese interpreter have been arrested and detained in charge of possession of information about the Acehnese independence movement by the Indonesian police in the South Aceh District on Sept. 10, 2002.

According to the information we have received, the detainees are:

– Ms. Lesley McCulloch, a permanent Australian resident of British citizenship and a lecturer at the University of Tasmania in Australia;

– Ms. Joy-Lee Ernesting Sadler (passport No. P 200681420), a retired nurse from the United States; and

– Ms. Fitra bin Amin, an Acehnese interpreter.

On Sept. 4, 2002, they went to the South Aceh area to research the poor situation there and to give medical treatment to the villagers who do not have access to medical treatment even though they have been injured because of the fighting between the Indonesian military (TNI) and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM).

For several days, they were detained and denied any visits by their lawyers, families and embassies. However, the local human rights organisation was informed that they were in the Polres Aceh Selatan. The police have denied what took place though and do not want to discuss this case as a detention case.


– Sept. 10, 2002

The three people were stopped by the army at the checkpoint in the Keude Reundeng area and were told to open their bags, which they refused to do and then asked to call their embassies. Instead, they were threatened and assaulted by army personnel – the commander of the post and another man. Afterwards they were taken to the police station at the subdistrict in Kandung and kept there overnight.

– Sept. 11, 2002

Although Joy and Fitrah were very sick, proper medical treatment was denied them, and instead, interrogations took place for the next four days at the Tapaktuan police station. Because of the lengthy interrogation sessions, they suffered from sleep deprivation. The police then forced them to sign a statement that contained false information, which Joy and Lesley refused to do. Until this moment, they were denied access to their embassies. Because Lesley is a vegetarian, she had no food for four days.

KONTRAS ACEH, a local human rights organisation, tried to gain access to them but was not permitted. After several attempts to negotiate an agreement between the police and KONTRAS ACEH, Joy’s son, Dante Lee Leave-Martin, was allowed to speak with her mother on Sept. 14.

– Sept. 15, 2002

The three people left for Banda Ache in a police truck. During the journey, Lesley was sexually harassed by the police inside the truck by D. Ekap, a second sergeant. The three people stayed overnight in the police section at Subussalam Subdistrict.

– Sept. 16, 2002

The police truck arrived in Medan in the evening. The three detainees again wanted to call their embassies but were again refused permission. Having only been provided with a little food, and none for Lesley, another interrogation session began until 2 a.m. even though Joy and Fitrah were confirmed to be ill by a doctor. Afterwards, they were again pressured to sign a statement. Fitrah and Lesley signed, but Joy refused.

– Sept. 17, 2002

The officers from the U.S. and U.K. embassies arrived in Medan in speak with them, but they were refused permission to speak to the detainees. However, the embassy officials and their lawyers informed KONTRAS ACEH that Joy and Lesley were charged with violating the conditions of their visa and that the charge was backdated to Sept. 11.

– Sept. 18, 2002 – Present

More interrogation and intimidation took place to them. Joy suffers from severe angina so a test was arranged at a hospital by her embassy. Joy was allowed to call only once to her embassy to secure more medicine.

Meanwhile, Lesley suffers from a recurring disc problem in her backbone. She was taken to the hospital and given medicine. The doctor said that her medical problem is due to her living conditions and lack of exercise in prison and must me improved. She is now using a stick to walk.

On Oct. 1, the prosecutor issued a letter to extend the detention for Lesley. Therefore, her detention might be extended for a maximum of another 40 days.

To attain legal advocacy for Lesley and Joy, three lawyers came to Aceh from Jakarta on Oct. 3 but were informed that their cases were already given to the prosecutor. Two more lawyers will come to join them.


Please send your appeal to the president, minister of law and human rights and the national chief of police of Indonesia.



To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER



Re.: The illegal arrest and detention of Ms. Lesley McCulloch, Joy-Lee Ernesting Sadler and Fitra bin Amin

I have been informed that Ms. Lesley McCulloch, a permanent Australian resident of British citizenship and a lecturer at the University of Tasmania in Australia, Ms. Joy-Lee Ernesting Sadler, a retired nurse from the United States, and Ms. Fitra bin Amin, an Acehnese interpreter, have been arrested and detained illegally in Polda Aceh.

For a few days after they were arrested, they were denied access to lawyers and their families. They were also intimidated and harassed by the police during and after interrogation sessions. Moreover, even though Ms. Ernesting Sadler and Ms. McCulloch have serious health problems due to the poor conditions in custody and lengthy and repeated interrogation sessions, they have been denied proper medical treatment, all of which clearly violates their basic human rights.

I know that there has been an alarming escalation of disappearances and extrajudicial killings in Aceh for the past few years and local human rights activists and lawyers have been systematically targeted by the Indonesian military and police. The illegal arrest and detention of these three people is yet another example of the continuous violations of human rights that are sadly taking place in Aceh.

Therefore, I urge you to guarantee their rights to access to lawyers and proper medical treatment to be provided to them and that an investigation into intimidation and harassment committed by the police during and after the interrogation sessions be launched immediately.

I look forward to learning about your prompt attention to this matter.

Thank you.

Sincerely yours,



Mrs. Megawati Sukarnoputri

President, Republic of Indonesia

Presidential Palace, Jakarta

Istana Negara, Indonesia

Fax: (62 21) 345 7782

SALUTATION: Your Excellency

Yusril Ihza Mahendra

Menteri Hukum dan Hak Asasi Manusia (Minister of Law and Human Rights)

Jl. HR Rasuna Said Kav. 6-7


Jakarta-Selatan 12950


phone: 0062/21/5253004

fax: 0062/21/3141625 or 513095 or 5253095

Gen Da¢¥i Bachtiar

National Chief of Police

Kepala Polri – Markas Besar Kepolisian RI

Kapolri (Mabes POLRI)

Jl. Trunojoyo 13

Kebayoran Baru

Jakarta-Selatan 12110


Ph: (62 21) 721 8000 or 8001 or 7422978 or 7207277

Fax: (62 21) 348537 or 7207277 or 7260306 or 72014021



Mr. Asmara Nababan

Secretary General

Komnas HAM (National Commission for Human Rights)

Jl. Latuharhary No. 4B Menteng

Jakarta Pusat INDONESIA

FAX: (62 21) 392 5227


SALUTATION: Dear Mr. Nababan

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UA-47-2002
Countries : Indonesia,
Issues : Arbitrary arrest & detention,