Retno Marsudi ensures legal assistance to comedians arrested in Hong Kong

Beijing (ANTARA News) - Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi has ensured legal assistance for two Indonesian comedians arrested in Hong Kong on visa violation charges.

"We will ensure that the legal rights of the two comedians are fulfilled," the minister noted on the sidelines of the 3rd Meeting of the Indonesia-China Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation in Beijing on Saturday.

Marsudi has been constantly monitoring the developments in the legal cases that ensnare Deni Afriandi and Yudo Prasetyo.

In addition to having no understanding of the law, the two comedians from East Java are believed to be facing a language barrier.

"(Legal) assistance from us is necessary to ensure that they can give the right answers when questioned by the Hong Kong authorities," Marsudi added.

The minister noted that legal assistance will be provided by the Indonesian Consulate General in Hong Kong until the case is solved.

Nevertheless, Marsudi asserted that Indonesia cannot intervene in the legal ruling imposed on the two comedians who have rose to fame in the Javanese comedy and joke entertainment industry.

Viewing the case as purely a visa violation, she has urged the inviting committee of the Indonesian labor community in Hong Kong to also shoulder responsibility.

Prasetyo and Afriandi were arrested in Hong Kong on grounds of visa violation for accepting payment to appear in a show organized by Indonesian workers without holding proper working visas. They had entered Hong Kong on Friday on a tourist visa and were arrested by the immigration officials on Sunday.

The local authority of Hong Kong found sufficient evidence on the misuse of tourist visas issued to performers and violation of residence permit by the event organizer.

The case was heard in a local court on Tuesday. The event organizers were released after being interrogated by the local authority, but they have to report to the Hong Kong immigration on a regular basis.

Meanwhile, Consul General of Hong Kong and Macao Tri Tharyat said he and his staff had visited the two comedians in prison and confirmed that they were in good condition.

The two comedians face a maximum penalty of two years in prison and/or a fine of 50 thousand Hong Kong dollars, Tharyat noted. The trial is scheduled to be held in March.

Source: ANTARA News

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