Court to Summon New York Times via Public Notice

JAKARTA ~ The New York Times and one of its reporters is to be summoned by an Indonesian court via the media after they failed to appear to defend themselves in a defamation suit brought by a US mining executive, his lawyer said Monday.

Richard Ness is suing the newspaper and reporter Jane Perlez in the Jakarta Central District Court over stories published in 2004 that claimed mining giant Newmont polluted a bay on the island of Sulawesi with tons of waste from its now defunct gold mine.

Ness and the local unit of Newmont were cleared in April of criminal charges that they polluted Buyat Bay with arsenic and mercury from the mine.

Ness is seeking about US$65 million in damages.

Perlez and representatives of The New York Times failed to show up in court for the second time on Monday, Ness’s lawyer Arief Surowidjojo said.

“The court will print the summons in national media and if they still fail to show up, the trial will proceed without them,” he said.

The session will resume on July 2.

“The court has sent the summons to Jane Perlez and the New York Times at her address in Jakarta,” Surowidjojo said.

A spokeswoman for the newspaper said no papers had been received in the case.

“Neither The Times nor Ms. Perlez has received any papers in the case. As we said earlier, we intend to defend the case vigorously,” she said.

Ness is claiming that the stories were inaccurate, unfair and had contributed to the charges being brought against him and Newmont.

He has said the allegations and subsequent court case took a toll on his personal life and he needed to clear his name.

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