By Dawood Amiri
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Additional resources for Confessions of a People-Smuggler
I knew they were also thinking that maybe I had made a deal with Mr Bambang to cheat them out of their money. A. trusted me. My cousin was older than me, with more worldly experience. Under pressure from his roommates, he held quite a few conversations with me about Bambang. A. would ask me, ‘What do you think of Bambang’s behaviour? What’s he like? ’ ‘He’s given me good advice about many things in Indonesia that we don’t confront in our country,’ I told him, adding that Bambang seemed like a nice guy.
He had a light, athletic body, and had a talent for karate. One day, almost 15 days after my interview, in the early morning, he climbed up on the roof of the double-storey prison building, using the corner of two walls. Only a few people saw that impossible and unbelievable manoeuvre. Once he reached the roof, his three roommates threw him a rope made with bed sheets, which he tied to an iron bar on the roof. The cell doors had been opened by the guards half an hour earlier, and after that the guards had gone back to sleep.
Only then would he unlock the inner doors for us: The prisoners would not attempt to escape again, as it was not only illegal, but also life-threatening, and immigration was responsible for taking care of us. The prisoners would not adopt a bad attitude, disobey, or abuse any of the immigration officials, and would respect immigration rules and discipline. The prisoners would not cause any damage to the building, because it was government property, and the boss was responsible for it. In return, the representatives of the prisoners had three conditions of their own: The UNHCR had to visit and attend to their cases regularly, at least once every two months, as they did in other detention centres.