16 February: Hundreds of inmates serving time in the Lhokseumawe prison in Aceh rioted at the weekend, clashing with officials, setting fire to parts of the prison and injuring one fireman.
“The riot started on Saturday when an inmate fell sick and members of the family wanted to take him to the hospital but were not given permission by prison officials,” Fathlurachman, chairman of the Justice and Human Rights Ministry’s Aceh branch, said on Sunday.
Fatlurachman said some inmates had been angered by the action and started throwing stones at officials.
The situation eventually got out of control when hundreds more soon joined.
However, Aceh Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Gustav Leo said officials did not gave the infirm inmate, Chaerul, permission to leave because he had requested to seek medications at a graveyard.
According to health officers in the clinic, Chaerul had suffered from a gastric disease.
“The situation worsened from Saturday morning until the riot broke out at 22.00 on Saturday evening. That’s when the inmates started burning thing and went berserk. About 20 prison officials reported to the district police at 23.30,” Gustav explained.
Up to 150 members of the Lhokseumawe District Police were deployed in addition to 200 Mobile Brigade (Brimob) members to secure the prison.
Lhokseumawe Police chief Sr. Comr. Joko Surachmanto said the situation was brought under control on Sunday morning following negotiations with the inmates.