Headlines

Dead migrant workers’
organs were not stolen:
Foreign minister

Contrary to speculation that three dead Indonesian migrant workers had fallen victim to organ traffickers, the Foreign Ministry announced on Friday that all the internal organs of the dead men were intact.

“The police forensics team found no evidence that would support [speculation on] organ trafficking,” Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said during a press conference in Jakarta.

The minister said, however, that the government would still urge its Malaysian counterparts to conduct a thorough investigation to determine the cause of the workers’ deaths.

He said it was also important to know whether there were any violations committed by the Malaysian Police.

According to the Malaysian authorities the three workers Herman, 34, Abdul Kadir Jaelani, 25 and Mad Noon, 28, were shot dead in Port Dickson, Malaysia, on March 24 during the course of a robbery. Their bodies were repatriated on April 5.

Families of the men alleged that their organs had been harvested as there were many stitches on their bodies, such as on their eyelids, chests and stomachs.

To investigate this allegation and address nationwide concerns over the possibility of foul play, the Indonesian Police conducted autopsies in West Nusa Tenggara.

The Malaysian police had already conducted autopsies on the bodies.

National Police health division chief Brig. Gen. Musaddeq Ishaq stated that all of the vital organs, including brains, eyes, livers and kidneys were intact.

“The stitches on the bodies were caused by the previous autopsies in Malaysia,” he said.

The recent autopsies, which were conducted from Thursday to Friday, were led by the police’s health division and Mataram Medical University.

The autopsies on Herman and Kadir were conducted on Thursday, while that on Mad Noor took place on Friday.

Mahsun, Herman’s father, however, insisted that his son’s eyeballs had been removed when he saw Herman’s body after the autopsy.

“According to what I saw, his eyes were gone,” he said as quoted by Tempo in Mataram on Friday. He added that his family was still in shock about what had happened to his son.

Earlier on Friday, Malaysian Home Minister Hisammudin Hussein denied that the migrant workers were victims of organ trafficking and said that the accusation had sullied the country’s image.

“I reject this allegation and ask for all individuals to be patient as the investigation is still ongoing,” he said as quoted by Antara news agency.

Marty said that now that the organ trafficking controversy had been officially addressed; the ministry would be urging the Malaysian government to investigate the cause of the deaths.

The minister said that he had formed a special fact-finding team led by the ministry’s staff and members comprised of staff from the Indonesian embassy in Kuala Lumpur, including the police attaché and a lawyer.

According to him the team had met with all the related institutions in Malaysia such as Port Dickson hospital, Malaysia’s foreign ministry, Malaysia’s national police, as well as the five doctors who had carried out the autopsies in Malaysia.

The Indonesian Attorney General, Basrief Arief, said that he had contacted his Malaysian counterpart, Abdul Gani Patail, to discuss the case in the light of a recently signed agreement on law-enforcement cooperation, including resolution of migrant-worker issues.

“They will inform us of the results [of the investigation]. Let’s give them a chance to finish their work,” he said.

In 2011, up to 17,000 residents of East Lombok, from where the men came, went to work as migrant workers abroad. As many as 70 percent of them went to Malaysia. (fzm)

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