The Jakarta Post
Foreign Minister Retno L.P.Marsudi said on Tuesday that the Myanmar government had agreed to release 55 Indonesian sailors that were arrested in 2014 on suspicion of illegal fishing in Myanmar. Retno said the ministry had proved the sailors were victims of human trafficking.
'Through negotiations, during which it could be proven that the sailors were victims of human trafficking, we were able to set them free,' Retno told reporters in Jakarta on Tuesday.
'This shows once again how Indonesia will always try and go the extra mile to help its citizens,' she went on.
Retno said she raised the issue of the 55 sailors with Myanmar Foreign Minister U Wunna Maung Lwin during her visit to Naypyitaw in May. They discussed it along with another crucial issue, the Rohingya migrant crisis currently taking place in Southeast Asian waters, she said.
As reported earlier, the Myanmar authorities arrested and detained 55 Indonesian sailors for allegedly illegally fishing in the country's waters and committing immigration violations in February 2014.
The arrests occurred when the sailors' five ships were heading to Thailand to dock. They were sentenced to between seven and nine years in prison for the violations.
The ministry said the 55 Indonesian sailors had arrived home on Monday. (ebf)(+++)
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