New York, June 30, 2003—Japanese photographer Takagi Tadatomo was released and deported from Indonesia’s war-torn Aceh Province on Sunday, June 29, after being held for two days. The 25-year-old photographer left Medan, the capital of neighboring North Sumatra Province, on a morning flight to Singapore.
Indonesian military authorities in northern Aceh detained Tadatomo last Thursday, June 26, for taking photographs without proper accreditation of refugees fleeing fighting between rebels and government forces—who launched a major military offensive against the rebels in the region in mid-May—and for traveling to the area on a tourist visa.
According to news reports, Tadatomo was held in police custody for two nights before immigration officials transferred him to Medan on Saturday, June 28.
American free-lance reporter William Nessen, who surrendered to Indonesian military authorities on Tuesday, June 24, after spending several weeks with separatist rebels of the Free Aceh Movement (known by its Indonesian acronym as GAM), remains in custody on charges of violating the country’s immigration law. [See CPJ’s June 25 alert]
On June 26, Aceh’s martial authority announced harsh new restrictions on journalists covering military operations there. On June 27, CPJ protested these restrictions in a letter to Indonesian president Megawati Sukarnoputri.