The International Federation of Journalists today expressed its deep concerned over police investigations into the abduction of Berita Sore reporter, Elyuddin Telaumbanua, which appear to have stalled amid grave concerns for his safety.
According to IFJ sources, Telaumbanua was assaulted and kidnapped by six unidentified men on August 22, while reporting on a murder in the district of Teluk Dalam, in Southern Nias. There is still no word on the fate of the reporter and no one has been charged over his abduction.
“The IFJ calls on the Indonesian government to ensure that a rapid and thorough investigation is being carried out by its police force,” said IFJ President Christopher Warren. “We are extremely concerned for the safety of Ely Telaumbanua. He has now been missing for almost a month and still no significant developments in the case have come to light".
On Thursday September 15, hundreds of journalists gathered in front of the House of Representatives in North Sumatra, to protest continued delays in the investigation. In addressing the demonstration Berita Sore chief editor, Teruna Jasa Said, described the abduction as a “tragic situation for the national and international press.”
Investigating police say they have found some evidence but that it is not enough to make an arrest and that the motive for the kidnapping is most likely a personal matter.
However, according to IFJ sources, the kidnapping may have been linked to articles the journalist had recently written about alleged corruption in the local elections. There are also reports that the local people in the region may be too afraid to speak out about the kidnapping.
Telaumbanua’s wife, Elisa Sederhana said that police told her they are still looking for her missing husband but that the case had been hampered by a number of obstacles. “Any delays in the investigation could be a matter of life and death,” said Warren.
Vice Chairman of the north Sumatra Provincial Legislative Council, Commission A (DPRD Sumut), Nurdin Ahmad, addressed the hundreds of demonstrators, condemning all violence against the press. He vowed to take the matter to the police authorities and ensure the case was being followed through appropriately.
“It is encouraging that the Commission has publicly denounced violence against journalists. We urge Indonesian authorities to do all they can to fast track the inquiry and shed some light on this disturbing case,” said IFJ President Christopher Warren.
For more information contact Christopher Warren on +61 411 757 668
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries