Aussie deported from Indonesia in honeymoon nightmare
Any foreign national who comes to Australia must abide by Australian laws. So what happens when they don't?
Australian PhD student Belinda Lopez will be deported from Indonesia. Picture: Twitter/@belle_lopezSource:Twitter
INDONESIAN authorities have denied entry and will deport an Australian graduate student who was travelling via Bali to Indonesiaâs easternmost province of Papua on vacation.
Belinda Lopez, a PhD candidate for Indonesian studies at Macquarie University, wrote on social media that she had been detained at Baliâs Denpasar airport since midnight on Saturday and was told she was on a government blacklist.
Ms Lopez, who was formerly a reporter in Jakarta nine years ago, was set for a solo honeymoon after her husband found himself unable to travel. She had planned to visit friends in Bali and Java before heading to a tourism festival in Papua, according to a Twitter post.
But upon arriving at Bali airport, she was denied entry by immigration.
âIâve been refused entry to Bali and have been held in a room at Denpasar airport... I am told I can only board a flight at 10pm tonight (Saturday), so that means Iâll be detained for nearly 24 hours before Iâm deported,â Ms Lopez wrote on Twitter
âImmigration asked me if I was a journalist. Two staff members kept asking me if I had âdone something wrong to Indonesiaâ.
She wrote the stressful ordeal had been âdevastating for (her)â after visiting many times in the past.
âWhen I asked why I was black-listed the man actually said; âYou should be telling us why youâre black-listedâ, or something to that effect,â The Australian reported Ms Lopez said in a WhatsApp exchange this afternoon, as she sat in Ngurah Rai International Airport.
Ms Lopez wrote she had previously been deported from Papua in 2016, after being suspected of being a reporter.
âI was told it was an administrative matter... and meant I couldnât return to the territory for six months,â she wrote.
âSo why am I now on the Indonesian government blacklist? For how long? For what reason? For going to Papua? This is devastating for me.â
Papua has suffered a simmering separatist conflict since it was incorporated into Indonesia after a widely criticised UN-backed referendum in 1969 and remains one of its poorest regions.
Access to international media remains restricted.
Immigration office spokesman Agung Sampurno has denied Lopez was being depo rted on suspicions she was heading to Papua as a journalist.
âBelinda was barred from entering Indonesia on an immigration issue,â he told Reuters, confirming, though, that she was on an immigration blacklist.
Indonesiaâs President Joko Widod has previously pledged to ease media restrictions for Papua, but human rights experts are sceptical. Picture: AFPSource:AFP
Human Rights Watch researcher Andreas Harsono said Ms Lopezâs âcase shows once again that the Indonesian authorities are still restricting foreign journalists, or anyone suspected (of doing) journalism, to enter Papua.â
Indonesiaâs President Joko Widodo after coming to power in 2014 pledged to ease media restrictions for Papua, but activists say journalists continue to be blocked when trying to report from there.
In February 2018, a BBC reporter was ordered to leave the province after Indonesiaâs military said tweets she sent on her trip had âhurt soldiersâ feelingsâ.Source: Google News Indonesia | Netizen 24 Indonesia