In his passport, a stamp confirmed his expulsion from Indonesia. Circumstantial evidence of what he went through. Almost only one. However, Bruce De Maeyer confirmed it: for 41 days, from October 4 to November 15, 2021, this young Frenchman, now 25 years old, was detained by the Indonesian authorities without further that explanation, he confirmed, that a passport is considered suspect.
Almost a year later, he demanded an explanation, perhaps compensation. He filed many complaints, against the Indonesian authorities, but also French, in the gendarmerie of Luc, where he now lives. It was also a way for him to get back his two dogs and his boat, which remained in the Pacific.
This is the first place to live
It is on that sailboat named Hawkeye that Bruce De Maeyer touched, on October 4, the island of Karatung, in the north of Indonesia. Together with a friend unlike any other, he tries to reach New Caledonia from the Philippines, where the two men have lived for the past seven years. But the travelers faced a storm. The victims of the damage, they found refuge in the port of Melonguane.
Their arrival, assisted by a fishing boat, as well as their mistake was even broadcast in a report on a local TV channel.
“We immediately informed ourselves to the local authorities“, assured Bruce De Maeyer, recalling that a convention of the United Nations, approved especially by Indonesia in 1984, allows navigators to take shelter along the nearest coast in case of danger.
Having traveled a lot with his parents when he was young, the young man, he said, was used to the procedure to be followed when one enters a country in this way. “Usually, you are asked to stay on board while identification documents are verified.“
This time, it was almost half a day before the authorities returned. Tell him that his passport is suspicious. Find his boat. He must follow them. Together with his partner, they were placed in detention. Bruce De Maeyer will stay there for more than a month. Without further ado, he said. Without the French consulate in Jakarta responding to his requests, nor the lawyers he hired in the area.
In any case, this is what the young man testified: “I have never signed a paper, I have never been told the reason for my imprisonment and apart from the stamp showing that letters from my lawyer to find out more have been received, he has not been received either.“
“on the floor”
First detained with his partner in Karatung, Bruce De Maeyer was then transferred to another detention center in Manado, an island in the south. Little can say about the conditions of his imprisonment – he says: “I slept on the floor…” – he simply explained that he was overwhelmed by despair. Without control over a situation he did not understand.
It was finally on November 15 that the young man was finally released. Again, there is no explanation. Under the obligation to leave Indonesian territory within seven days, he was taken to Jakarta airport, where his passport was returned to him. He left the island a few hours later, headed for Singapore, then Paris. He set foot in France without the slightest obstacle, his passport does not cause any mistrust at this time.
Today, Bruce De Maeyer wants to give something to his experience, this “crazy story“, as he said. But also that the Indonesian and French governments explain themselves. At the end of September, he hopes that the prosecution of Draguignan will decide on the admissibility of his complaints.
Illegal entry according to Foreign Affairs
For their part, however, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its spokesperson for Asia confirmed that “the services of this ministry, in Jakarta as in Paris, closely follow the status of Mr. De Maeyer, who was arrested by the Indonesian authorities for violating the rules of entering Indonesian territory.“. Like all French nationals arrested abroad who request it, the Quai d’Orsay still assures, “he benefits from the consular protection provided by the Vienna Convention of April 24, 1963“.
It is in this capacity that the consular services in Jakarta become “in contact with him from October 15, 2021 and until his expulsion from Indonesian territory, to determine his conditions of detention, his state of health and respect for his defense rights“.
The traveling companion was convicted of murder
If no reason justifies the detention of Bruce De Maeyer, the situation of his traveling companion… The young man was actually traveling with Thierry Ascione, whose arrest in Indonesia caused chaos in October. Tried in 2001 and sentenced in absentia to life, the 62-year-old Marseillais was found guilty of ordering the double murder of a couple of restaurateurs in 1991 in Guatemala. On the run since then, he has not stopped proclaiming his innocence.
Bruce De Maeyer half knows – he talks about “Case of Guatemala“, in a “political record“, in a “complicated story” – to find out about his friend’s criminal past. Avoids, but he says that he only found out about it when they started traveling between the Philippines and New Caledonia. This, even though he knew him in about seven years.”My parents, Thierry and I met while we were in Malaysia. My parents continued their trip to New Caledonia and I stayed with him.“The young man denied the term of running -“Thierry travels with papers in his name“– and believed his partner when he claimed innocence.
“I wasn’t born yet!”
Above all, and regardless of his relationship with Thierry Ascione, Bruce De Maeyer remembers that he had nothing to do with this activity in Guatemala: “I was not born yet!“Thus he imagines paying the price for trying to pressure his colleague on the French authorities, through their Indonesian counterparts.
“What convinced me of his innocence was this whole story“, he launched. And to think: “If he is guilty, why hasn’t he been extradited yet?“
As far as we know, Thierry Ascione is still in Indonesia. Not being extradited or able to leave the country for lack of a valid passport. If he considers that the time limit (twenty years) for an unprovoked conviction has passed, his extradition will still be justified by an arrest warrant issued in 2019 by the Paris Court of Appeal. This proves that “the extradition request has not, to date, been implemented“and determined that”no prescribing difficulties were reported“.