American Calls on President for Help in Bali Custody Battle
An American man living in Bali and involved in a bitter and protracted battle with his Indonesian ex-wife over custody of their four children has called on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for help.
Eli Gattenio said he had sent a letter to the president asking for his intercession in the case.
Gattenio, who lives in Seminyak, has been involved in a public dispute with his ex-wife, Sari Soraya Ruka, over their marital break-up and custody of their children.
Last year Gattenio offered a reward to anyone able to track Ruka down, claiming that she had abandoned the couple’s four children. Ruka subsequently launched her own publicity drive, and in February Gattenio was briefly arrested during trip to Jakarta for allegedly terrorising his ex-wife via the social-networking website Facebook.
He had allegedly sent Rukai a threatening message featuring an image of a tombstone.
“On the tombstone there was inscribed, ‘Sari Soraya Ruka Gattenio: Born 26 August 1975, Death 5 May 2010. Mother and wife, you won’t be missed,” Jakarta Police spokesman Rikwanto said. After his arrest Gattenio claimed that he had gone on hunger strike.
Last year he publically threatened to blow up his Seminyak villa and to kill himself and his daughters.
Gattenio and Ruka have been in conflict since they separated in 2010 after a three-year marriage. The couple have four daughters, who had been living with their father in Bali.
The children, Indigo, Hope, Joy and Nadia, who are aged between 4 and 12 years, are now understood to be with Ruka herself in Jakarta, who has sought protection for herself and the children from the Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI).
Gattenio said he felt he had been treated unfairly.
“I feel frustrated because I haven’t met my children for 70 days. That’s why I ask the help of President SBY. Even President Obama has sent a letter,” he claimed, referring to the American president.
“Since my children were taken away to Jakarta, I’ve been four times back and forth from Bali to Jakarta but could not meet them. My access to meet my own flesh is zero,” he said, adding that he wanted to bring the children back to his home in Seminyak.
“My own effort to meet my children has not been successful so far,” he said. “I hope the president will approve my request,” he said.
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