Sabang (Indonesia), Jan, 29,2009: The bearded farmer wept in his hospital bed as he recounted a harrowing six-month journey that brought him from the isolated country of Myanmar to this remote island in the Indian Ocean.
Nur Mohammad, a member of the Rohingya Muslim minority group, said he was forced to work for the Myanmar army, after being detained and tortured without charge. When he fled that country, he said he was exploited by Bangladeshi human traffickers, beaten by Thai officials, and then forced out to sea in an overcrowded boat that nearly sank off Indonesia`s coast.
And his ordeal is not over.
The 37-year-old Muslim, who is being treated for internal bleeding and trauma, faces possible deportation by the very people who plucked him from the water.
`I would rather die here,` Mohammad told The Associated Press, describing the abuse in Myanmar against the Rohingya, who for generations have been denied citizenship and reportedly face torture, religious persecution and forced labor under the ruling junta.
`If I`m sent back, I am sure authorities will kill me.`
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Image: Rohingya refugees from Myanmar and Bangladesh perform evening prayers at an Indonesian Navy base where they are being held after having been rescued at sea January. 28, 2009 on Sabang Island off the Coast of Banda Aceh, Indonesia.