Monday, January 9, 2012

Home after 10 months in Indonesian prison

MALACCA: Six Malaysian fishermen, who were detained for almost 10 months by the Indonesian authorities for allegedly encroaching on their waters, arrived home yesterday after they were granted amnesty by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Ahmad Maslan (left)

  The six of them, together with an Indonesian fisherman, were detained in international waters between Malaysia and Indonesia on March 8 last year.
  They were released from  Bengkalis Prison on Wednesday after Susilo  offered an amnesty in the form of a reduced jail sentence and an abolition of the one million Rupiah (RM350,000) fine per person.
  The Malaysian fishermen, all from Pontian, Johor, are Jamil Mohd Top, 53, Mohd Zamri Hambali, 26, Rosli Abd Rashid, 34, Zainodin Adam, 53, Ridzwan Aris, 35, and Ibrahim Mohd Kasim, 29.
  They arrived at the Banda Hilir ferry jetty here at 1.30pm and were welcomed by their family members and friends.
  One of the fishermen, Ridzwan, said  the time spent in the Indonesian prison was an unforgettable  experience for him.
  "I never gave up hope and  never stopped praying that I would be reunited with my family. 
"My thoughts were always of them, especially my wife and three children." 
  Ridzwan, a fisherman for 15 years, said they were treated well while in prison.
  Meanwhile, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Ahmad Maslan, who was  at the jetty to welcome the fishermen home, said their release  reflected the harmonious relationship between Malaysia and Indonesia.
  "This is a historical event because never before has a Malaysian citizen been given amnesty by an Indonesian president. 
"I really appreciate it," Ahmad  said.
  Ahmad, who is Pontian member of parliament, also thanked Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for discussing the matter with his Indonesian counterpart which led to the release of the fishermen. 
"I have informed  the prime minister of their release and he is very happy with the good news," he added.

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