S'porean held in Batam yearns to see family again

S'porean held in Batam yearns to see family again
UNCERTAIN FUTURE: Singaporean businessman Lim Yong Nam will know his fate when the Batam court hears his case next week.
PHOTO: ST

He was supposed to find out yesterday whether he could return home.

Instead, Singaporean businessman Lim Yong Nam, 41, learnt that he will be detained for at least another week in Indonesia as the Batam court adjourned his hearing till next Wednesday.

Mr Lim is being held at the police headquarters of the Riau Archipelago on the Indonesian island.

He is wanted by the US for allegedly breaching an American trade embargo against Iran.

His Indonesian lawyer, Mr Zevrijn Boy Kanu, told The New Paper yesterday in a phone interview that the court had adjourned the matter because it was not ready to make a decision.

"When Mr Lim found out about the adjournment, he was disappointed that the case was being dragged on and that he has to stay even longer in detention, but he was understanding when I explained the court's decision to him," Mr Zevrijn said.

In 2011, the US accused Mr Lim of acquiring 6,000 radio frequency modules for export to Iran and asked for his extradition in 2011.

But he was not extradited as the Singapore High Court found that the wrongdoing he was accused of was not an offence here.

ARRESTED

Mr Lim was arrested in Batam on Oct 23 last year after he arrived there to attend a trade exhibition.

In April, a Batam court ordered Mr Lim to be released from detention after it found that Riau Archipelago police did not have sufficient documentation at the time of his arrest to detain him.

But he was re-arrested just after he was released from detention the next day.

Mr Zevrijn said yesterday that it is against Indonesian law to extradite someone who has already been acquitted in another country.

"This case has been heard twice (once in Singapore and once in Batam in April). Why is it being re-investigated further?" he said.

The lawyer hopes the courts will reject the extradition request so that Mr Lim can be reunited with his family in Singapore.

"Right now, all he wants is to... be with his family again," Mr Zevrijn said.

Mr Lim is married with two young daughters.

After his arrest last year, his wife sold their three-bedroom apartment to pay the lawyers' fees. She and the children are now living with her parents.

Mr Lim's younger brother, who wanted to be known only as Mr Lim R. Q, 37, told TNP yesterday that he was disappointed that his brother's hearing was adjourned again.

But he added that it did not come as a surprise to him, saying: "They've been pushing back his case time and again, many times we don't know the reason."

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs previously expressed its concern over Mr Lim's continued detention despite the Batam court's ruling.

It said it has been closely monitoring his case since he was first detained and has cautioned that Singaporeans travelling in foreign countries must abide by and are subjected to the laws there.

But Mr Lim R. Q. hopes that authorities in Singapore and Indonesia could do more to help his brother.

"We're his family and we want the best for him," he said.

tnp@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on June 25, 2015.
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