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Protestors urge Malaysia to release 12 Sumatran fishermen

JAKARTA: Around 100 fishermen organized by the Alliance of Malacca Strait Fishermen staged a rally in front of the Malaysian Consulate General in Medan, North Sumatra, on Thursday.
They demanded that 12 Belawan fishermen arrested by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency on Oct15 be set free.
At the rally, which was attended by wives and children of the arrested fishermen, the protesters displayed posters and held speeches calling for the release of the fishermen.
Rally coordinator Usman claimed there was no legal basis for the Malaysian authorities to arrest the three Indonesian fishing boats, including the 12 fishermen aboard, because they had been in Indonesian waters.
“We want Malaysia to immediately release the 12 fishermen and their boats. They are not guilty,” said Usman in his speech.
Several participants were later allowed to have a closed-door meeting with consulate general representatives to voice their aspirations.
Zulfahri Siagian, a rally participant who attended the meeting, said the consulate general had agreed to release the fishermen by November. “We hope they can be released before the end of October,” he said.
Salmiah, an official with the consulate general, said it would facilitate in the release of the fishermen. “We will convey [the aspirations] to the relevant authorities [in Malaysia],” she said in a statement delivered to rally leaders.
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