Indonesia slammed over Tamil death

(December 27, Colombo - Lanka Polity) Indonesian authorities have been accused of acting without compassion following the death of a Sri Lankan asylum seeker on Wednesday.

Friends have been barred from viewing George Jacob Samuel Christin's body in keeping with Tamil customs, while the repatriation has also been delayed without explanation.

The 29-year-old - one of almost 250 Tamils who have spent 11 weeks refusing to leave their boat moored off the Indonesian coast - died of a suspected stomach infection after allegedly being denied medical assistance.

Mr Christin was vomiting blood but was not taken to hospital for several hours, and was later released.

He was losing his vision and lapsing in and out of consciousness before eventually being returned to hospital, where he died, the group's spokesman Sanjeev "Alex" Kuhendrarajah said.

The Indonesian government was still refusing to co-operate, denying access to his body.

"What we expected was that at least Indonesia would act more humanely since (Mr Christin's death), but there have been many insensitive acts," he told AAP.

"We've requested several times to see his body, but they won't.

"They won't let us co-ordinate the funeral because they haven't told us when they will be releasing the body.

"They don't have any heart."

Mr Kuhendrarajah fears the Indonesian government is rapidly losing patience with the asylum seekers, evidenced by continued verbal threats and assaults, as well as increasing disregard for their welfare.

Two men taken to hospital with similar symptoms the day Mr Christin died were transported by taxi rather than by ambulance.

Asylum seekers have also been interrogated heavily by police and barred from completing visa applications, Mr Kuhendrarajah added.

Poor conditions aboard the boat meant it was only a matter of time before there was another serious health issue, he said.

The Refugee Action Coalition's Ian Rintoul, who has met with Indonesia's human rights commissioner to discuss the plight of the Tamil boatload, said the death was preventable.

He called on the Australian government to process the asylum seekers, adding it was responsible because it helped Indonesia originally intercept their boat.

© 2009 AAP


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