April 6, 2013
The North Sumatra Police have named 18 Rohingya refugees suspects for a fight, which left eight Myanmar fishermen dead and 21 others with injuries, at the Belawan Immigration Detention Center in North Sumatra, a police official said.
“They are accused of conducting collective assault and torturing. They face a maximum sentence of 12 years if proven guilty,” local police spokesman Sr. Comr. Heru Prakoso said Saturday.
According to police investigations Rohingnya refugees were angered when a female refugee was sexually harassed by the fishermen.
“We found no other motive. Thus, speculation that the brawl was because of religious differences wasn’t true,” he said referring to reports that the incident followed a heated debate between a Muslim cleric and the Buddhist fishermen regarding conflict in Myanmar.
The refugees came to Indonesia in search of asylum, while the fishermen were detained over alleged illegal fishing activities.