Moves by the Maritime Union of Australia to impose bans on Indonesian cargo and shipping to protest against human rights abuses brought immediate protests from Indonesia yesterday. The union announced the bans in response to what it said was Australian Prime Minister John Howard's failure to press Indonesia on rights during his inaugural visit to Jakarta this week. 'The bans are to protest against the recent arrests of independent labour leaders Muchtar Pakpahan and Dita Sari and the continuing repression following the July riots in Jakarta,' the union said. Pakpahan is being held at the Attorney-General's Department after being charged with subversion over riots in Jakarta on July 27. Subversion is punishable by death in Indonesia. Indonesia's official Human Rights Commission has said five people were killed and 149 injured in unrest, described as the worst in decades. Sari is the head of the labour wing of the People's Democratic Party, an activist group blamed for the riots. She was arrested in July, before the unrest, during a labour action in Surabaya. 'We regret that this could happen since you know that it follows the visit of the Prime Minister [Mr Howard],' said Ghaffar Fadyl, the director of information at Indonesia's Department of Foreign Affairs. 'A lot of things have been discussed on how to promote relations between the two countries, in trade relations and other aspects also, so things have been turning out all right. We just hope that this will not be a setback,' Mr Fadyl said. 'This was his [Mr Howard's] first visit and we are looking forward to further enhancement of the relationship.' He said Pakpahan was suspected of involvement in the July 27 unrest and was being questioned accordingly. 'He is being questioned under existing Indonesian law. I think in other countries that would also be the case,' Mr Fadyl said. 'So for an organisation, a union, to impose such an action, which is related to something which is a domestic affair, seems to constitute interference in the internal affairs of another country.' The first ship to be hit by the irregular bans would be the Bogasari Empat, which was due to arrive in Fremantle, Western Australia, yesterday to load wheat, the Maritime Union said. Mr Howard took a low-key approach to human rights during during his three-day visit, which ended yesterday. He is now in Japan He said he had not come to 'lecture' Indonesia on human rights and spoke of the need for each country to respect the other's political system.