Thursday, 23 February 2012

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Foreign and female inmates to be evacuated from Bali's Kerobokan prison

 

FOREIGN inmates including the 12 Australians held at Bali's notorious Kerobokan jail are set to be moved later today amid fears they could be targeted in ongoing unrest at the prison. Prison guards and police have again been forced to retreat to the streets outside the jail following a second night of unrest in the wake of a rampage by inmates on Tuesday night during which sections of the jail were destroyed by fire. About 400 armed police and soldiers remain stationed outside the jail amid a tense stand-off with prisoners. Indonesian Justice and Human Rights Minister Amir Syamsuddin has also been dispatched from Jakarta and is expected to visit the jail later today. The ongoing tension has prompted authorities to prepare for a mass evacuation of the jail, which has been without electricity since the riot broke out at about 11pm local time (2am AEDT) on Tuesday.  Riots continue in Kerobokan prison Buses have been moved to Kerobokan to prepare for the evacuation, which could take place at about 1pm. It's understood that the 60 foreign prisoners will be taken to a detention facility at Klungkung, a drive of about two hours from Kerobokan. Kerobokan governor Bowo Nariwono has confirmed the plan but said details were still being worked out. ''There's a plan to make them safe,'' Mr Nariwono said. The overcrowded jail houses more than 1000 male and female inmates, including the Gold Coast's Schapelle Corby and members of the so-called Bali Nine drug trafficking group. One of the Australian prisoners, Graeme Michael Pollock, was due to be sentenced today in relation to drugs charges. His hearing has now been postponed. The evacuation plan emerged as authorities voiced concerns for the safety of the foreigners inside the jail after a second night of unrest. Provincial military command spokesman Wing Handoko told AFP that authorities were still working out the details of the evacuation. ''We don't want to take chances, just in case the foreigners become a target of the prisoners' anger,'' he said. Authorities were forced out of the prison again last night after having initially wrested control of the jail back from prisoners earlier in the day. ''The prisoners took over the prison again, which forced security personnel to fire warning shots into the air,'' Mr Handoko said. Prisoners responded to the warning shots by throwing flaming missiles onto the street outside the jail. It is understood that they have demanded that the three prisoners shot in the leg with rubber bullets and removed from the jail yesterday be returned. The prison has been sealed off with about 400 armed police and soldiers, equipped with water cannons, stationed outside. Prisoners began rioting on Tuesday night after days of simmering tensions following the stabbing on Sunday of one prisoner by three inmates from a rival drug gang. Police were called in at about 4pm on Sunday to quell a mob of prisoners that had attacked those believed to be responsible for the stabbing.

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