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Join Free Press Mission: US Journalist William Nessen Put on Trial in Aceh, Indonesia

US freelance journalist William (Billy) Nessen will go on trial on July 23 in Aceh, Indonesia. Nessen's crime: losing his visa and passport while trying to escape a combatant zone under heavy fire, and reporting from both sides of the conflict. Join the Committee for the Protection of Journalists, Society of Professional Journalists, Inter-Americas Press Association, the International Federation of Journalists, and others calling for Nessen's release and an end to human rights abuses in Indonesia.
US freelance journalist William (Billy) Nessen will go on trial on Wednesday July 23 in Aceh, Indonesia. He faces up to five years in prison if convicted of minor visa violations. Nessen's crime: losing his visa and passport while trying to escape a combatant zone under heavy fire, and reporting from both sides of the conflict.

The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) has posted four letters at the below site for our use. For convenience, the appeal letter text is pasted below.

Earlier this month, a delegation of journalists, lawyers, and friends of Nessen's met with Vice-Consular Krishna Hannan at the Indonesian Embassey in San Francisco on July 3, 2003. At this meeting, Hannan stated with bewildered amazement: "The pressure (to release Nessen) is felt...most definitely! Here (SF-embassey), in DC, and at the U.N."

The pressure is mounting. Please join the latest round of appeals, and continue to alert your friends and colleagues.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is asking writers to cc: appeal letters to them. For further information, contact Asia Program Coordinator Kavita Menon, Research Assistant Alexis Arieff or Research Associate Sophie Beach at CPJ, 330 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10001, U.S.A., tel: +1 212 465 1004, fax: +1 212 465 9568, e-mail:  asia@cpj.org,  kmenon@cpj.org,  aarieff@cpj.org, Internet:  http://www.cpj.org/
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Society of Professional Journalists Statement, Background, Appeal Letters can be found at:
 http://www.spj.org/spj_programs_intjourn.asp
appeal letter text posted below
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Her Excellency Megawati Sukarnoputri
President, Republic of Indonesia
Office of the President
Bina Graha, Jalan Veteran No. 1
Jakarta Pusat, Indonesia
Fax: 011-6221-526-8726

or c/o Permanent Representative to UN
E-mail:  indonesia@un.int

Your excellency:
I am writing to you on behalf of my colleague William Nessen, a fellow journalists who, through no fault of his own, is currently imprisoned by your government. William Nessen is a serious, dedicated journalist who should not be punished for doing his job in a difficult situation.

Mr. Nessen has written articles about Indonesia for the San Francisco Chronicle, the Boston Globe, the Independent in the U.K., and other newspapers. He is currently being held by the police in Banda Aceh, the capital city of the Aceh province, in the northern tip of Sumatra.

In addition, I join the Society of Professional Journalists, Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières) the Committee to Protect Journalists, the World Association of Newspapers, the Inter-Americas Press Association, the International Federation of Journalists, Title XIX, and other professional organizations in requesting that your government ease its restrictions on journalists
in the Aceh region.

Sincerely,
Name
Title
Affiliation

--------
Soemadi D.M. Brotodiningrat
Indonesian Ambassador to the U.S.
2020 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036
Fax: 202-775-5365
Email:  dithenb@dfa-deplu.go.id

Mr. Ambassador:
I am writing to you on behalf of my colleague William Nessen, a fellow journalists who, through no fault of his own, is currently imprisoned by your government. William Nessen is a serious, dedicated journalist who should not be punished for doing his job in a difficult situation.

Mr. Nessen has written articles about Indonesia for the San Francisco Chronicle, the Boston Globe, the Independent in the U.K., and other newspapers. He is currently being held by the police in Banda Aceh, the capital city of the Aceh province, in the northern tip of Sumatra.

In addition, I join the Society of Professional Journalists, Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières) the Committee to Protect Journalists, the World Association of Newspapers, the Inter-Americas Press Association, the International Federation of Journalists, Title XIX, and other professional organizations in requesting that your government ease its restrictions on journalists in the Aceh region.

Sincerely,
Name
Title
Affiliation
--------
Ralph Boyce
US Ambassador to Indonesia
Jl. Medan Merdeka Selatan No. 5
Jakarta Pusat 10110
Fax: 011-6221-3435-9922
Email:  irc@usembassyjakarta.org or
 jakconsul@state.gov

Mr. Ambassador:
I am writing to urge you, as the American ambassador to Indonesia, to ensure the immediate release of American freelance journalist William Nessen from his imprisonment in Banda, Aceh.

The situation in Aceh has gone from bad to worse and the offenses against journalists as well as the restrictions on media coverage of the separatist Free Aceh Movement need to be eased.

William Nessen is a serious, dedicated journalist who should not be punished for doing his job in a difficult situation. I join his family, friends, and colleagues in asking you to do all in your power to work for his release.

Mr. Nessen has written articles about Indonesia for the San Francisco Chronicle, the Boston Globe, the Independent in the U.K., and other newspapers. He is currently being held by the authorities in Banda Aceh, the capital city of the Aceh province, in the northern tip of Sumatra.

In addition, I join the Society of Professional Journalists, Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières) the Committee to Protect Journalists, the World Association of Newspapers, the Inter-Americas Press Association, the International Federation of Journalists, Title XIX, and other professional organizations in requesting that you urge the Indonesian government to ease its restrictions on journalists in the Aceh region.
Sincerely,
Name
Title
Affiliation
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Senator Richard Lugar
306 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-1401
Phone: 202-224-4814
Fax: 202-228-0360
Email:  senator_lugar@lugar.senate.gov

Mr. Senator:
I am writing to urge you, as a United States Senator, to ensure the immediate release of American freelance journalist William Nessen from his imprisonment in Banda, Aceh.

The situation in Aceh has gone from bad to worse and the offenses against journalists as well as the restrictions on media coverage of the separatist Free Aceh Movement need to be eased.

William Nessen is a serious, dedicated journalist who should not be punished for doing his job in a difficult situation. I join his family, friends, and colleagues in asking you to do all in your power to work for his release.

Mr. Nessen has written articles about Indonesia for the San Francisco Chronicle, the Boston Globe, the Independent in the U.K., and other newspapers. He is currently being held by the authorities in Banda Aceh, the capital city of the Aceh province, in the northern tip of Sumatra.

In addition, I join the Society of Professional Journalists, Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières), the Committee to Protect Journalists, the World Association of Newspapers, the Inter-Americas Press Association, the International Federation of Journalists, Title XIX, and other professional organizations in requesting that you urge the Indonesian government to ease its restrictions on journalists in the Aceh region.

Sincerely,
Name
Title
Affiliation
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other links:
 http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/52447/?PHPSESSID=078d555b4ecc7790e2c15efd96a16347
 http://www.spj.org/spj_programs_intjourn.asp
 http://www.cpj.org/news/2003/Indonesia18july03na.html