Baby ‘confiscation’ goes to police

Ni Komang Erviani, ,  The Jakarta Post, ,  Denpasar   |  Sat, 01/03/2009 10:33 AM  |  Bali

A couple whose baby was reportedly “confiscated” because they were unable to pay for its delivery have reported their midwife to the Bali Police, accusing her of human trafficking.

The couple, Mulyono and Yetriyana Lopes, represented by lawyers from the Legal Aid and Human Rights Foundation (PBHI), on Tuesday accused their midwife, Kurnianingsih, of “confiscating” their baby for financial purposes, which under human trafficking laws carries a penalty of between 3 and 15 years in prison and a fine of between Rp 60 million and Rp 300 million (US$27,000).

Mulyono said he had reported the midwife because he felt she was no longer displaying any “goodwill” over the issue.

“I just want my baby back,” he said.

As reported earlier, the conflict between Mulyono and Kurnianingsih began after the delivery of Yetriyana’s twins, Aditya and Raditya Mulyana.

Mulyono, who could not afford the delivery bill of Rp 1.5 million, said he had to leave his wife and children at Kurnianingsih’s clinic as a guarantee he would return to pay his debts.

After three weeks, Mulyono returned with Rp 1 million, hoping it would be enough to bring his family home. However, he claimed the midwife had added the expenses of their three-week stay to her original midwifery bill, taking the total to Rp 6 million.

Mulyono further claimed that he was forced to sign an agreement stipulating that he must leave one of his sons at the clinic in order to be released from all his debts.

Kurnianingsih refused to comment on the police report, saying only that she was ready to fight the charges.

“I have hired an attorney to defend me,” she said.

In an earlier report, Kurnianingsih denied that she forced Mulyono to give up the baby, saying that Mulyono himself offered the baby to be taken care of by more able parents.

She also denied the accusation that she had increased the bill to Rp 6 million, saying that the costs of the three-week stay raised the amount Mulyono had to pay to Rp 2.5 million.

Head of the Bali chapter of PBHI, Ni Nyoman Sri Widhiyanti, said Kurnianingish might be charged with other offenses as the case developed.

“Right now we’ve decided to go with human trafficking, as suggested by the police, although PBHI may decide to use other laws against Kurnianingsih,” she said.

Widhiyanti said Kurnianingsih could also be accused of breaching child protection laws, specifically on child adoption.

“According to child adoption laws, there are a lot of requirements to fulfill to legalize the adoption process, including that the process should not erase the real parents’ existence and that the adoption process must be processed through the District Court. She clearly neglected this,” Widhiyanti said.

Violating child adoption laws carries a maximum penalty of five years in jail and Rp 100 million in fines.

About erviani

Jatuh cinta dengan dunia jurnalistik sejak bergabung dengan Lembaga Pers Mahasiswa Indikator, Fakultas Ekonomi Universitas Brawijaya. Sempat bekerja untuk Harian Warta Bali, 2003 - 2005, Koresponden Majalah GATRA untuk wilayah Bali, anggota redaksi Media HIV/AIDS dan Narkoba KULKUL, TPI, dan Koran Seputar Indonesia. Menulis lepas kini menjadi aktivitas keseharian. Kini aktif sebagai kontributor untuk beberapa media yakni Bali Daily-The Jakarta Post, Mongabay Indonesia, dan Khabat Southeast Asia.
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