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Yuvinus Solo is suspected of breaching Indonesia’s human trafficking laws. (Info Pemilu)

Police in Indonesia’s Christian-majority East Nusa Tenggara province named a Catholic politician as a suspect in a human trafficking case that triggered protests from rights activists and Church groups. Source: UCA News.

Yuvinus Solo, an elected member of the local legislative council in Catholic-majority Flores Island, was named as a suspect on May 17, announced Susanto, a police spokesman in the island’s Sikka Regency.

Susanto, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, said the police move came after examining 18 witnesses, including seven workers who were duped by a syndicate linked to Mr Solo.

This came after protests in Flores over a recent case that involved dozens of local workers who were sent to work in an oil palm plantation illegally.

Their employer was reportedly abusive which led to the death of a worker, sparking uproar in Flores.

“He played a role in recruiting and sending victims as non-procedural workers,” Susanto told reporters.

Mr Solo has been charged under the Human Trafficking Criminal Act 2007. If convicted, he faces 3-15 years in jail and a maximum fine of about of $A56,000.

A human trafficking case was filed against Mr Solo and others in early April after 40-year-old Yodimus Moan Kaka died on March 28 while being taken to a hospital in East Kalimantan province after falling sick from starvation.

His wife, Maria Herlina Mbani said that Mr Kaka had called her to say that he and eight other workers had not received food for several days.

Mr Solo had denied recruiting Mr Kaka, claiming that he only recruited 32 people at their request.

However, activists from church groups demanded his arrest saying that they collected evidence of his involvement.  

The activists including priests and nuns from the Humanitarian Volunteer Team and the Sikka branch of the Indonesian Catholic Student Association visited a police station and submitted their evidence on May 13.

Activists said they collected evidence such as the transfer of money from Mr Solo to Mr Kaka’s wife to buy air tickets from Flores to Kalimantan.


Indonesian Catholic politician accused of human trafficking (UCA News)