Riders steal body from Indonesian hospital in 'humanitarian' act

A group of motorcycle drivers forcibly grabbed the body of a baby from the morgue after the hospital delayed releasing his body for immediate burial.
A group of motorcycle drivers forcibly grabbed the body of a baby from the morgue after the hospital delayed releasing his body for immediate burial.PHOTOS: SCREENGRABS FROM YOUTUBE

JAKARTA (DPA) - Motorcycle taxi drivers stormed a hospital on Indonesia's Sumatra island and took the body of a baby that was kept there for hours in an act they described as "humanitarian".

The six-month-old baby boy died on Tuesday (Nov 19) while being treated at M.Djamin hospital in the city of Padang, but his parents grew impatient after the hospital delayed releasing his body for immediate burial.

"He died at 9 but there was no certainty when he could be brought home," said the baby's mother, Dewi Suryani, who said she owed the hospital 24 million rupiah (S$2,318) for her son's treatment.

Islamic tradition requires a dead person to be buried immediately.

A group of motorcycle drivers, which included a family relative, took the matter into their hands and forcibly grabbed the body from the morgue later in the afternoon.

Wardiansyah, one of the drivers, said the group took action for humanitarian reasons. "We are human. What if it was our own child?" he said. "In a case of death the hospital should make it easier. The family will eventually pay."

The hospital spoke of a "misunderstanding".

"There was an administrative process but it took some time," hospital spokesman Gustafianof was quoted as saying by Suara.com news portal.

"It wasn't about money but there were some documents that needed to be completed," he said.