Monday, July 13, 2009

Rohingya boat-person dies in Ranong jail

Bangkok, Thailand (Kaladan): A Rohingya, who was among the boat-people died in Ranong jail on June 30 from diarrhea. He was one of the 78 boat-people arrested by Thai authorities while on their way to Malaysia, according to a Rohingya boatpeople watch group.

Rohingya in Ranong Jail

Abdu Salam (21), son of Abu Sofian, hailing from Maung Gri Taung (Sarb Bazar) in Buthidaung Township under Arakan State, died of diarrhea in Ranong jail, the group said.

He was suffering from diarrhea since June 25, and died on June 30, at about 7:30 pm in the immigration office while on the way to a hospital for treatment. Subsequently, his body was sent to the nearby hospital for autopsy. The body was handed over to a nearby mosque for burial by the police, the group further added.

Abdu Salam was buried at the Muslim cemetery on July 2, at around 10 am after his father Abu Sofian’s arrived. His father lives in Maesot in Thailand. The body was put in an ice box till his father’s arrival.

Rohingya Boat people are taking to the police station of Ranong

The 69 Rohingya and 9 Bangladeshis - 66 men and 12 male teenagers - were intercepted on January 27, 2009 by the Thai Navy following an arduous journey across the Andaman Sea amidst claims of abuse by the Burmese Navy en route. A provincial court ordered each of the 66 men to pay a 1,000 Thai baht (about US$29) fine for illegal entry into the kingdom. Those unable to pay had no choice but to serve a five-day prison term on January 28, according to the website of The Nation newspaper.

The 12 teenagers, who were exempt from persecution, are being held at an immigration detention centre, but are expected to be deported with the men.

Rohingya boat people inculding children under custody of Ranong police

Thailand's Supreme Commander Gen. Songkitti Jaggabatara met Burma's Vice Chairman of the ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) and Army Chief Deputy Senior General Muang Aye and discussed about the Rohingya problem, where Gen. Muang Aye accepted Thailand's request to help in the Rohingya issue even though the Rohingya ethnic group is not on the official list of 135 ethnic minorities in Burma, the website said.

The Burmese Foreign Minister told his Thai counterpart at the Asean summit in Thailand that his country might be willing to take back Rohingyas - but only if they were categorized as Bengalis who reside in Burma, not Burmese citizens.

The Rohingya who are in Thailand and Indonesia, refused to go back to Burma without their rights, demanding to be treated equally with other Burmese ethnic groups. Many therefore are languishing as refugees in other countries.

Later, however, the Bangladeshi people were sent back to their country at the initiative of the Bangladesh government.

At present, the 69 Rohingya boat-people are languishing in Ranong jail.

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