Kuta. An American man embroiled in a bitter custody battle with his Indonesian ex-wife sent a letter to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono asking the president to help reunite the father with his four children on Tuesday.
“I feel frustrated because I haven’t met my children for seventy days,”
Eli Gattenio said on Tuesday. “That’s why I ask the help of President SBY. Even
President Obama has sent a letter.”
Gattenio’s ex-wife Sari Soraya Soka allegedly moved the couple’s four children — Indigo, Hope, Joy and Nadia — from Bali to Jakarta after the divorce was finalized. Gattenio claims that Sari won’t let him see the children, despite repeated trips to Jakarta.
“Since my children taken away to Jakarta, I’ve been four times back
and forth Bali-Jakarta but could not meet them,” he said. “My access to
meet my own flesh is zero.”
The man said that his four children want to return to Bali and live with him. Indigo even tweeted that she wanted to move back home and return to school, Gattenio said.
He hopes Yudhoyono will come to his aide.
“My own effort to meet my children has not been successful so far,” he said. “I hope the president will approve my request.”
The couple divorced in 2010 after being married for three years. The children’s ages range from 4 to 12 years old.
During one of Gattenio’s visits to Jakarta, he was detained by the Jakarta Police’s cyber crimes unit after allegedly e-mailing Sari a threatening message that included an image of a tombstone inscribed with her name, and the dates of her birth and death.
“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.
Gattenio was examined by a police psychiatrist, who said that he was temperamental and impatient.
In 2011, Gattenio threatened to blow up his Bali villa, and kill himself and his daughters, if he was forced to leave the country without them. Then-Justice Minister Patrialis Akbar intervened in the matter.