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Subject: TAPOL activist refused entry into Indonesia
Date: Sun, 19 Jul 1998 15:44:07 +0100 (BST)



A member of the staff of TAPOL, Liem Soei Liong, was today refused entry into Indonesia on the grounds that his name is still on a blacklist which denies entry to an unknown number of people.

Liem Soei Liong, an Indonesian who has lived in exile for more than thirty years, holds a Dutch passport. Besides working for TAPOL, Liem is a founding member of JODI, a pro-democracy opposition network of Indonesians set up two years ago, whose membership extends throughout Europe and the US.

Carmel Budiardjo of TAPOL said: 'It is a grave reflection on the reform credentials of the Habibie regime that they still maintain a blacklist denying entry to people who are known for their dedication to the principles of democracy and human rights.'

On arrival in Jakarta, Liem was informed by immigration officials that the exclusion order preventing his entry had been signed by General Wiranto, commander in chief of the armed forces. He was told that the blacklist is renewed annually, meaning that his exclusion order must have been renewed quite recently.

TAPOL has written to Minister of State Derek Fatchett, urging the British government to intervene in order to have Liem's name removed from the blacklist.

Following a visit to Indonesia in 1994, Liem was arrested at Jakarta airport as he was about to leave the country, and was held for intensive questioning for three days. He was told then that he was blacklisted and should not have entered the country.

Liem is now in Singapore from where he will press the Indonesian authorities to rescind his exclusion order. It is understood that a member of the National Human Rights Commission, Bambang Suharto, has undertaken to support him in having his name removed from the blacklist.

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