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Thursday, 19 September, 2002, 12:49 GMT 13:49 UK
Indonesia warns detained foreigners
Lesley McCulloch, left, and Joy Lee Sadler arrive at a police station in Banda Aceh on Tuesday
McCulloch (left) and Sadler could face five years in jail
Indonesian police say they want a British academic and an American nurse, arrested in troubled Aceh province, to be put on trial.


The guy held me at knife-point and said he was going to kill me

Lesley McCulloch
Police in Jakarta told a news conference that Lesley McCulloch and Joy-Lee Sadler had violated their tourist visas by contacting the separatist Free Aceh Movement.

Immigration offences carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Jakarta police had earlier said that they were likely to deport the two women, who were arrested last week.

But a spokesman for the Aceh police has now told AFP news agency the police want to make an example of the two Westerners.

"The police will make strong efforts to intensively investigate so this can become a lesson for foreigners who violate the law," said spokesman Taufik Sutiyono.

The news came as Ms McCulloch gave a clandestine interview to Radio Australia from the bathroom of an Aceh police station.

'Threatened with knife'

The researcher, originally from Dunoon in Scotland, told the radio she was in much better spirits now she has met British consular officials.

But she said she had been beaten when she, Ms Sadler, and their Indonesian translator - who has since been released - were first arrested.

Map of Indonesia showing Aceh and Jakarta
"They were trying to open our bags and I was trying to stop them," she said.

"And they tried to pull me out of the way and then it developed into something else. And then that's when the guy held me at knife-point and said he was going to kill me..."

She and Ms Sadler have also complained of being deprived of sleep, initially being prevented from contacting consular officials, and being forced to suffer marathon interrogations during their eight days in detention.

As she was led away from a jail in Banda Aceh, the provincial capital, on Thursday, Ms McCulloch yelled to reporters: "I am not fine."

A British diplomat met police in Jakarta on Wednesday to complain about the academic's treatment.

Photos and video found

The police say they found photographs and video footage of the separatist rebel movement in women's bags, as well as a laptop and documents.

Relatives of Ms McCulloch said she had gone to Aceh to research a book on the conflict there.

She is a permanent resident of Australia and until June taught at the University of Tasmania, in Hobart.

She has written many articles on the conflict, including for BBC News Online, in which she has highlighted abuses allegedly committed by the security forces in the province.

Ms Sadler, from Iowa, was in Aceh to treat the sick and injured in refugee camps, according to her daughter.

Foreigners need special permission to carry out research in Indonesia and separate authorisation to travel to any of the country's conflict zones.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Lesley McCulloch tells the BBC:
"We had no documents on us"


See also:

18 Sep 02 | Asia-Pacific
22 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
19 Aug 02 | Asia-Pacific
17 Sep 02 | Asia-Pacific
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