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Jakarta Post

17 inmates named suspects in Bengkulu prison fire

  • thejakartapost.com

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, March 28, 2016   /  09:31 am
17 inmates named suspects in Bengkulu prison fire Members of the National Police's forensic team collect evidence during a crime scene investigation at Malabero prison in Bengkulu municipality, Bengkulu province, on Sunday. Investigators seized a saw, a pair of pliers, a wooden table, volleyball net poles, two bricks, a spoon and and cell phone wires for further investigation. (Antara/David Muharmansyah)

The Bengkulu Police have named 17 inmates as suspects after a fire destroyed Malabero prison and killed five inmates, police officials said.

Police named the suspects on Sunday after conducting a thorough investigation into the incident that broke out on Friday night, Bengkulu Police chief Brig. Gen M. Ghufron said as reported by tempo.co on Monday.

The police had identified three parts of the case, he said, namely perpetrators provoking other inmates to start the riot, the arson and then subsequent damage to the detention center.

Police alleged an inmate initialed EK had provoked other detainees, while two inmates suspected of starting the blaze are NT and NU. Meanwhile, 14 people have been named suspects in the prison vandalism – RE, NS, ES, HS, DH, ZE, NK, RW, Y, M, FZ, DF, SC and FD.

All the suspects are serving time for drug-related offenses.

Bengkulu Police chief Adj. Sr. Cmr. Ardian Indra Nurita said the suspects would be accummulatively charged in addition to their original sentences.

The police charged suspect EK for starting the provocation under Article 160 of the Criminal Code, which carries a maximum penalty of six years' imprisonment. NT and NU were charged under Article 187 of the Criminal Code on arson, which carries a maximum life sentence.

Other suspects were slapped with group assault charges and could face a maximum penalty of 12 years in prison.

"We are continuing to investigate the detention center fire and it is possible there will be more suspects as developments occur," Ardian said as quoted by tempo.co.

The blaze took place on Friday night after officers from the Bengkulu branch of the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) inspected a block housing drug convicts.

As officers took one of the inmates for questioning, others in the same block reportedly attacked the officers and started the riot.

The fire then spread to the rest of the prison, forcing the evacuation of around 259 inmates to Bentiring penitentiary, kompas.com reported.

The fire also killed five people who were detained for drug crimes. The victims were Agung Nugraha, Heru Biliantoro, Agus Purwanto, Hendra Nopiandi and Medi Satria.

The Law and Human Rights Ministry has called on the BNN to relocate drug convicts from prisons and detention centers in the wake of the incident to ease overcapacity issues that could lead to a future jailbreak.

The ministry's penitentiaries directorate general spokesperson, Akbar Hadi, said on Sunday that drug convicts accounted for around 35 percent of the 183,000 total inmates in the country, urging the BNN to send them to rehabilitation centers to ease overcrowding in prisons. (rin)

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