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Rohingya Prisoners Rip Free But Escape is Thwarted by Immigration Guards

Rohingya Prisoners Rip Free But Escape is Thwarted by Immigration Guards

Tuesday, July 30, 2013
PHUKET: A group of Rohingya staged a breakout from an Immigration centre this afternoon in a protest against cramped conditions at the Thai facility where they are being held.

Immigration officials and soldiers quickly brought the protest under control, sources told Phuketwan this evening.

Tonight in the aftermath of the protest, a number of Rohingya from the Sadao Immigration Centre in the province of Songkhla were being tranferred by officials to an unknown destination.

Sadao Immigration, according to a doctor who pays regular visits there, is where at least five Rohingya have died in custody since January.

The centre is crowded with 302 men who are said to be unable to lie down or stretch from a squatting position without coming into contact with other inmates.

This afternoon about 4pm, sources say, five men tore a grille from their ''cage'' on the second floor - in Thailand the ground floor is called the first floor - and jumped down.

The five men who created the hole were followed by five more men, according to sources.

The 10 Rohingya were still inside the perimeter of the facility. With the alarm raised, Immigration officials quickly brought the situation under control.

It's understood that soldiers also surrounded the centre, just in case the escape bid became more serious.

The doctor and others with access to the centre has warned the Governor of Songkhla Province and other authorities about the deteriorating physical and mental health of the Sadao prisoners.

Incarcerated in inhumane conditions without information about their fate, the men have been rapidly losing hope and in many cases are suffering from depression.

Along with hundreds of other Rohingya men, the group in Sadao is being held indefinitely by Thai authorities pending a decision on their status and future.

A six-month self-imposed deadline for a decision to be made about the Rohingya passed on Friday.

Scores of Rohingya women and children, held in Thailand in open family shelters, have already escaped and - most likely with the help of human traffickers - made their way across the Thai border and into Malaysia.

Eleven men have also escaped from the Phang Nga Immigration centre, north of Phuket.

Amnesty International says seven Rohingya men have died in Thailand since January. A usually reliable source has supplied Phuketwan with the names of eight men reported to have died in custody so far.

Most of the Rohingya - believed to now number about 1700 in total at centres and shelters around the country - were apprehended in border traffickers' camps or on passing boats in January, with at least one more boatload caught on Phuket in March.

Thailand's Government has yet to make a public statement about the Rohingya and their future.

It is now being speculated more widely that the Thai Army's Internal Operations Security Command - which oversees border security - could be put in charge of a large camp that would at least enable the Rohingya families who are now separated to be reunited.

Thousands more Rohingya are expected to begin boarding boats to leave Burma (Myanmar) from October.

The Thai Government is being advised by NGOs to include the United Nations refugee agency in its future processing to obliterate or diminish the human trafficking that has become widespread along Thailand's Andaman holiday coast.

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This's my urgent request to Thai authority to transfer all Rohingyas detainees to large camps where the can be interviewed by the United Nation High Commission fo Refugees. Having long term keeping them in crowded place ,many inmate got mental disorder and sickness. In fact ,it is totally intolerable for the detainees to be there. How it possible for human beings to stay the same cage for eight month without getting any sun bath and out side air. After learning today incident ,I feel very inconvenient . These people are escapees of genocide .They have lost everything in homeland and came here to save their lives only . By considering their dire situation ,kindly help them to be alive .Please help us.

Posted by Maung Kyaw Nu,President,Burmese Rohingya Association in Thailand ,BRAT on July 31, 2013 01:25


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