16 Survivors Return from Indonesia: Abu Saleh Threatened to Kill Us, We Prefer to Die outside Lebanon
9 October 2013
Sixteen survivors of the boat incident in Indonesia arrived Tuesday evening at Beirut's Rafik Hariri International Airport, accompanied by the Lebanese official delegation that traveled to Jakarta to facilitate their return.
“We won't be able to know anything about the missing bodies before the end of this month,” State Minister Ahmed Karami, the head of the delegation, told reporters at the airport.
Meanwhile, one of the survivors said: “We went through difficult circumstances and we suffered while in the custody of Indonesia's security authorities, but we were released upon the arrival of the delegation.”
“If they don't give us jobs, we will repeat what we did once, twice, three time and even ten times. If death is inevitable here and there, we prefer to die there,” he added.
Another survivor revealed that Abou Saleh, the Iraqi people smuggler who is operating from a prison in Indonesia, had threatened to kill his son just because he disclosed that the boat was in a poor condition.
“Abou Saleh threatened to murder everyone and he forced the Lebanese to get on the boat so that his story doesn't become known in Lebanon,” added another survivor.
Ayda Awwad, one of the survivors, said she refused to mount the boat because it was “totally unsafe,” adding that Abou Saleh had threatened to kill anyone who tries to escape.
Awwad said those who managed to escape from the smuggler's grip sought refuge in the forests, where they stayed for “four days.”
She added that they lived “real terror” before they were offered help by a man called Abdullah Shdid and a girl called Maysa Abdullah.
Awwad said she had paid $12,000 to the people smugglers in order to illegally travel to Australia together with her kids.
Meanwhile, another survivor said “Abou Saleh was jailed because he had murdered someone in Indonesia.”
State-run National News Agency identified the 16 survivors as Ali Hasan, Mohammed Abdul Latif, Marj Mheish, Abdul Rahman Issa, Khodr Darwish, Nasseredine al-Youssef, Mohammed Darwish, Abdullah Hadid, Aya Hasan, Rima Taleb, Ayda Awwad, Douaa Hasan, Musaab al-Kik, Khaled Taleb, Jihad Aryamik and Aysha Taleb.
It said the High Relief Commission paid the fines slapped by Indonesia on the Lebanese whose visas had expired while in the country.
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