Rohingya migrant boat lands in Indonesia

Rohingya Muslim people as seen inside a room at Kuala Idi Rayeuk port after arriving on a wooden boat in Aceh Timur, Indonesia, on Dec. 4, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 04 December 2018
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Rohingya migrant boat lands in Indonesia

  • Indonesia tends to accept asylum seekers but they are usually barred from working

IDI RAYEUK, INDONESIA: A boat carrying 20 Rohingya men landed in Indonesia Tuesday, authorities said, the latest group of the vulnerable Myanmar minority to reach the world's biggest Muslim-majority nation.
They arrived in Indonesia's western Aceh province on Sumatra island in a rickety wooden boat, according to a local official.
Most of the men ranged in age from 14 to 28, with one of them aged 50.
"They are Rohingya from Myanmar. We asked them where they were heading and they said they were going to Malaysia," said Idi Rayeuk district navy commander Razali, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.
"Maybe it's because of the currents that they've landed here instead."
The group were all in good condition and authorities are trying to find them a shelter, Razali added.
In recent weeks authorities in both Myanmar and Bangladesh, where around a million of the Muslim refugees are living in camps, have stopped boats filled with fleeing Rohingya migrants headed mainly for Malaysia.
It has been rare for Rohingya to attempt the sea routes south since Thai authorities clamped down on regional trafficking networks in 2015, sparking a crisis across Southeast Asia as large numbers were abandoned at sea.
That year, hundreds of Rohingya came ashore in Aceh, where they were welcomed in the staunchly conservative Islamic province.
But there have been concerns the desperate community might start taking to the high seas again after mainly Buddhist Myanmar launched a new military crackdown last year that forced about 700,000 members of the Muslim minority to flee to Bangladesh.
In April, about 80 Rohingya in a wooden boat landed in Aceh, just weeks after dozens more arrived in neighbouring Malaysia.
Indonesia tends to accept asylum seekers but they are usually barred from working and often spend years in immigration centres.


US police overseers fire 4 officers in 1994 fatal shooting of black teenager

Updated 25 min 23 sec ago
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US police overseers fire 4 officers in 1994 fatal shooting of black teenager

  • Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson in 2016 accused the officers of either giving or approving knowingly false statements
  • The Laquan McDonald case has roiled the criminal justice system in Chicago
CHICAGO: The Chicago Police Board on Thursday fired four police officers for allegedly covering up a white officer’s 2014 fatal shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald.
The nine-member board found the officers exaggerated the threat posed by the 17-year-old McDonald to justify his shooting by Jason Van Dyke and voted unanimously for the dismissal of Sgt. Stephen Franko, and officers Janet Mondragon and Ricardo Viramontes. All but one voted to fire Daphne Sebastian because of violations of department rules. She was not found to have made false reports.
The Fraternal Order of Police slammed the police board for its decision, contending the officers did nothing wrong.
“It is obvious that this police board has out-served its usefulness,” said the organization’s vice president Patrick Murray.
Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson in 2016 accused the officers of either giving or approving knowingly false statements. None of the four were charged criminally, however they were stripped of police powers and assigned to desk duty as their case proceeded. The firings can be appealed through a lawsuit.
A Cook County judge acquitted three other officers in January of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and official misconduct charges in the case.
Former Officer Joseph Walsh, Officer Thomas Gaffney and former Detective David March were charged with obstruction of justice, conspiracy and official misconduct. Prosecutors said they lied to shield Van Dyke from prosecution. A judge rejected the contention that a video of McDonald’s death proved police officers staged a cover-up.
McDonald was allegedly high on PCP and carrying a small knife in 2014 when Van Dyke exited his squad car and almost immediately opened fire. Police video released in 2015 showed Van Dyke firing 16 bullets into McDonald, many after the teen had crumpled to the ground.
Franko was accused of approving false police reports that McDonald attempted to stab Van Dyke and another officer and had in fact injured Van Dyke.
Mondragon was accused of falsely reporting that she did not see the shooting of McDonald because she was shifting the gear of her squad car. She was also accused of incompetence for not inspecting the video equipment in her car to see if it was working and recording events.
Viramontes was accused of reporting that McDonald continued to move after he shot and that he tried to get up with the knife still in his hand. He held to his statement even when an investigator showed him a video of the shooting.
Sebastian was not found to have filed a false report. However, it was determined she gave misleading and inconsistent statements to investigators that McDonald turned toward Van Dyke and another officer with a knife in a motion toward them.
Jurors convicted Van Dyke of murder in October. He’s serving a more than six-year prison term.
Illinois’ Supreme Court denied a bid by the state’s attorney general and a special prosecutor to resentence Van Dyke. The prosecutors expressed the belief the sentence was too lenient for the crime.
The McDonald case has roiled the criminal justice system in Chicago. The then police superintendent, Gerry McCarty, was fired by then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the then top prosecutor, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, was ousted by voters. Many believe Emanuel decided against running for a third term because of the case. It also led to a US Justice Department investigation that found a “pervasive cover-up culture” and prompted plans for far-reaching police reforms.