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Jakarta Post

Authorities urged to probe death of Benjina slavery witness

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sun, April 26, 2015   /  10:09 pm

The Commission of Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) and the Indonesian Traditional Fishermen'€™s Association (KNTI) have called on the police and the government to carry out a thorough investigation into the death of Yoseph Sairlela, a key witness in the slavery case in Benjina, Maluku.

"We allege that Yosepth'€™s death has a lot to do with an attempt to prevent a thorough investigation into the Benjina case because it is closely related to the competition among fishery businesses in Maluku," said head of Kontras'€™s advocacy division Haris Ashar in a press conference on Sunday.

Yoseph, coordinator of the monitoring post of the Dobo marine resources and fishery office in Aru Islands, was found dead in a hotel in Menteng, Central jakarta, on April 18. He knew a number of members of the so-called fisheries mafia behind the slavery allegedly practiced by fishing company PT Pusaka Benjina Resource in Benjina.

KNTI Chairman Riza Damanik said the Benjina case was a result of the absence of law enforcement and protection of fishing activities in isolated islets in the province.

"The practice of slavery at the fishing company had been exposed since 2009 but it was never probed and followed up," he said, adding that despite the case, the company'€™s fishing permit had been renewed annually showing that local government officials were allegedly involved in, or at least knew about the case.

"The police should also investigate 98 fishing companies employing more foreign workers than locals," said Riza as quoted by Antara news agency. (rms)(++++)

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