Turned-back refugees claimed being tortured by Australian naval officers
Wed, January 8 2014 22:41
Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara (ANTARA News) - Four of the 47 African and Middle Eastern asylum seekers claimed that they were tortured by the Australian Naval officers forcing them to turn back to the Indonesian waters.
On Wednesday, Mohamed Abdirashid, an 18-year-old Somalian refugee stated that his right hand was burned using a lighter. He showed his burn injury to the press in a hotel in Kupang.
Three other Somalian refugees were also meted cruel treatment by the Australian Naval officers. They were forced to put their hands on the hot boat engine.
"As a result, they suffered blisters on their hands. The inhumane treatment happened aboard one of the Australian warships," he claimed.
He recollected that on December 8, 2013, his boat carrying 47 refugees left Kendari, Southeast Sulawesi for Australia. Two days later, the boat reached the maritime border between Indonesia and Australia.
Suddenly, three Australian warships stopped the boat and surrounded it for three days.
"We did not receive any food or drink after being stopped and surrounded," he added.
After floating for three days, the boat was towed away by one of the Australian warships. The boat was finally stranded on Rote Island, East Nusa Tenggara, on December 19, 2013.
"We were able to eat only after the Indonesia police gave us some food," Abdirashid noted.
Another Somalian refugee, Marke Abdullah Ahmad, who has a blister on his hand, stated that the three Australian warships entered the Indonesian waters up to seven miles from the Rote Island while trying to drive the refugee boat away.
"We showed the GPS readings to the Australian officers to prove that they had entered far into the Indonesian waters, but they paid no heed to it," he emphasized.
On January 6, 2014, an Australian warship also reportedly violated and entered the Indonesian waters when it was driving away a motor boat carrying 45 Middle Eastern immigrants.(*)
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