August 21, 1996
His Excellency Arifin Mohamad Siregar
Ambassador of Indonesia
2020 Massachusetts, Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
Dear Mr. Ambassador, Among the many troubling notices being reported from Indonesia in these recent days has been information that Rev. Romo Sandyawan Sumardi, S.J., a Jesuit priest associated with the Jakarta Social Institute, has been summoned by the metropolitan police, supposedly in connection with his having given refuge to Budiman Sudjatmiko of the Peoples Democratic Party and that he could be charged with offenses carrying a possible penalty of up to seven years in prison.
I trust that the authorities in Jakarta are fully sensitive to the importance of maintaining the well-known stable relationship that has long existed among the different religious communities in Indonesia, and that they will be equally sensitive to the historic role of the Christian churches in particular, and of their clergy, in offering sanctuary or refuge to persons in dire circumstances. The information we have indicates that Father Sandyawan was doing no more than exercizing his pastoral ministry as a priest in offering refuge to these gentlemen.
I would appreciate your conveying these concerns to your Government, and would be grateful to learn of any developments in the matter.
With thanks for your attention to this, I remain
Robert T. Hennemeyer
Acting Director, USCC Office of International Justice and Peace