On 23 January 2018,
Indonesian-flagged vessels from Bima, KM Berkat Selayar with a capacity of 84
GT and 9 (nine) of its crew members have been apprehended by Timor-Leste law
enforcement officers for smuggling 9 (nine) containers filled with basic drugs
material type PCC.
The ship is manned
by 9 (nine) Indonesian Citizens, consisting of the Captain Hamzah, Muhammad
Anwar Kamal (prime suspect), and 7 (seven) ship crew members namely Usman, Andi
Rahman, Oki Sang Saputra, Sudarmanto, Idris, Suprianto and Ruslan.
Order of ship
detention of KM Berkat Selayar along with all evidences, the 9 (nine)
containers filled with basic drug substances PCC type, and the Indonesian Citizens
(9 people) was officially issued on (5/2/2018). Hamzah was officially detained
in Becora Prison and the 7 (seven) crew members as witnesses and outside
prisoner, while Muhammad Anwar Kamal the main suspect have escaped Timor-Leste.
Concerned with the
condition of 7 (seven) crew members whom basic needs were not fulfilled, and
without legal assistance, the Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to Timor-Leste,
Mr. Sahat Sitorus took quick steps to provide protection and legal assistance
for the 7 (seven) crew members. The crews are categorized as migrant workers and
entitled as eligible beneficiaries to receive protection and assistance from
the Government of Indonesia through its Diplomatic Representative in
The results of investigation
by the Timor-Leste legal enforcement, the 7 (seven) ship crew members were designated
as witnesses and not suspects nor constituted as defendants. Referring to this,
the Indonesian Embassy in Dili began collecting official information as well providing
legal assistance to 7 (seven) ship crew members by appointing an attorney at
law from the International Law Firm - CRA Timor, represented by Duarte S.
Carneiro, to forward a defense for the ship crews member at the Dili District
7 (seven) crew
members are traditional fishermen who do not have knowledge and insight about
their rights and obligations as ship crews, beheld no official documents
(Passport) nor receiving a decent wage.
On 15 May 2018, the
Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Dili through the attorney of 7 (seven) crews,
Duarte S. Carneiro (CRA Timor Law Firm) sent a request for the release of 7
(seven) ship crew members to RDTL Prosecutor’s Office. The petition contains
facts and considerations that the crew are mere traditional fishermen.
On 6-7 / 7/2018, subsequent
to the 7 (seven) crews official court’s hearing as witnesses (memoria futura),
then on 9/7/2018, the 7 (seven) crews were officially released by the RDTL Prosecutor’s
Office and delivered to the Indonesian Embassy in Dili to be repatriated to Indonesia
Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to RDTL, Mr. Sahat Sitorus on 25/7/2018
met with 7 (seven) crew members to officiate their repatriation as Indonesian
Nationals whom will return to their homeland – Bima. (kons/ns)