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Asean & Global Updates
POSTED | 12:17 PM | 03-11-2015

UK journalists found guilty of violating immigration law

Judges at the Batam district court on Tuesday (3 Nov 2015) declared two British journalists guilty of violating Indonesia’s immigration law and sentenced them to two months and 15 days in prison.

The court, led by head judge Wahyu Prasetyo, also fined the journalists -- Neil Bonner (31) and Becky Prosser ( 30) -- Rp 25 million, The Jakarta Post reported.

“They both are guilty of violating the 2011 immigration law,” presiding judge Wahyu told the court on Tuesday.

Bonner and Prosser were arrested by a Navy patrol in Batam in May for making a documentary on piracy in the Malacca Strait on tourist visas.

The verdict was lighter than what prosecutors had sought, which was five months in prison and a Rp 50 million fine.

The journalists can walk free in two days on Nov 5 because they have already served two months and 13 days following the arrest.

Bonner protested the verdict, arguing that it constituted criminalization against press freedom.

“We are sad, this is criminalization (of press) in Indonesia,” he told journalists after the trial.

In previous trials, Bonner and Prosser said the documentary aimed to look into the cooperation between Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore in securing the Malacca Strait.

They also interviewed some Malaysian officials.

The journalists’ attorney, Aristo Pangaribuan, slammed the prosecutors and considered filing an appeal of the verdict.

“The prosecutors seemed very eager to throw them in jail,” he said.

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