23 April – The alleged suicide of an inmate at a prison in Bandung, West Java, sparked a riot early on Saturday morning (23/04), after fellow inmates mistakenly concluded that he had been murdered, local media reports.
Part of the Banceuy Narcotics Prison was set alight during the riot, causing extensive damage to the front of the facility. Two cars and two motorcycles were also destroyed in the blaze, before the arrival of three fire trucks.
At least five of the nearly 600 police officers deployed at the prison were injured when inmates threw stones at them, before reportedly setting fire to the building.
Justice and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly, who immediately embarked on a visit of the prison, said seven inmates were isolated a day earlier after they refused to admit to drug use in spite of the fact that one of them had tested positive for narcotics.
One of the isolated inmates allegedly committed suicide later by hanging himself, and police subsequently arrived at the prison to investigate his death, the minister said.
“The next morning, rumors were circulating inside the prison that the inmate had been murdered. The riot then started and a fire broke out,” Yasonna said at the prison, as reported by Kompas.com.
The ministry’s director general for penitentiary affairs, I Wayan Dusak, admitted that the prison has been filled to overcapacity, housing around 1,000 inmates despite having only 10 prison wardens.
“There has yet to be a significant change,” Wayan said.