Group calls for release of hundreds of Rohingya in Saudi detention centre

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PETALING JAYA: A group representing Rohingya concerns in Malaysia has spoken in defence of hundreds of its countrymen who went on a hunger strike to protest their seven-year detention in Saudi Arabia.

The Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia (MERHROM) said there are currently at least 650 Rohingya detainees at the Shumaisi detention centre, which is spread over an area of 2.5 million sq m and can accommodate 32,000 inmates.

“This is the third hunger strike in recent months,” MERHROM president Zafar Ahmad Abdul Ghani Muslim said in a statement to FMT, adding that seven people have been hospitalised since the hunger strike began last Saturday.

He urged the Saudi government to release the Rohingya detainees in time for the coming month of Ramadan.

“We appeal to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to release them so that they can perform their religious duty in a meaningful way,” he said.

Zafar said the Rohingya detainees had fled the violence in Myanmar in 2012.

“We hope there will be no more Rohingya facing long detention in detention camps in any country as detention camps are not meant to hold stateless genocide survivors,” he added.