JAKARTA, Sept. 27 (Xinhuanet) -- A non-governmental organization for health suspected that the US government had interfered in a bay pollution case in Indonesia, according to the chairman of the organization on Monday.
Iskandar Sitorus, chairman of the Legal Aid Institute for Health (LBH Kesehatan), said the recent statement of the US ambassador to Indonesia in media to the effect that the interrogation into the PT Newmont Minahasa Raya could hamper investment was an immoral intervention.
In addition, the cancellation of the detention of a suspect, president of the company Richard Ness, by the police was considered inappropriate, said Sitorus.
Some 100 people living near the Buyat Bay, North Sulawesi, have reportedly contracted the Minamata disease, which is caused by mercury poisoning which allegedly resulted from waste dumped by the US gold mining company, PT Newmont Minahasa Raya.
"We suggest to the police headquarters Richard Ness be hospitalized into the police hospital if his complaint is illness,so there is no reason for Ness to refuse police interrogation," Sitorus said.
"At the beginning, the US Embassy (in Indonesia) said that it would support the investigation into the Newmont case as long as it was in line with judicial system. But the fact is that they (USofficials) conduct an intervention. We do not believe anymore the US government," said Sitorus.
Meanwhile, US Ambassador Ralph L. Boyce met with President Megawati Soekarnoputri at the State palace, discussing the case. Then he went the to police headquarters, but he could not meet with police chief General Da'i Bachtiar.
During his meeting with president Megawati, Boyce expressed hisconcern over the plan of detaining the US citizen, the president of the PT Newmont.
"We are deeply concerned about the detention plan of the US citizen," Boyce told reporters after the meeting at the State Palace.
"This is the US company and the investment currently is growing," he added.
At the police headquarters, the ambassador also denied his intervention in the case.
When asked whether the case could stop investment in Indonesia,he refused to elaborate.
"It is too early to say. But I think Indonesia is still a good place for investment and has a good prospect for industry," he said. Enditem