Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Corrupters, illegal loggers denied annual sentence cuts

Wednesday, August 13, 2008 Jakarta Post

Corrupters, illegal loggers denied annual sentence cuts

Desy Nurhayati , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta Tue, 08/12/2008

Prisoners convicted last year of corruption, illegal logging, terrorism and drug abuse will not be eligible for annual prison term reductions granted in observance of this year's Independence Day on August 17.

"We will give remissions to only 100 inmates this year, out of a total of 140,000, except for inmates in these particular groups," Law and Human Rights Minister Andi Mattalata said at the State Palace in Central Jakarta on Monday.

"Corrupters, terrorists, illegal loggers and drug abusers will only be allowed remissions if they have served one third of their prison sentences."

The minister said all other prisoners would automatically have their jail terms reduced after serving six years in prison, as stipulated in the 2006 government regulation on the requirements and procedures of implementing prisoners' rights.

Article 34 of the regulation clearly bars all convicts jailed for terrorism, narcotic and psychotropic abuse, corruption, gross human rights violations, crimes against state security and premeditated transnational crimes, from receiving remissions.

Andi said there were only a few prisoners convicted in 2007 of terrorism, illegal logging and drug abuse.

"Most of the prisoners belonging to the exceptional groups are corrupters," he added.

However, he said those convicted of these crimes before the 2006 regulation took effect also deserved remissions, even though the regulation was not retroactively applicable.

The move is based on a 1999 regulation, instead of the 2006 one, he added.
"They can receive remissions because we're applying the old regulation, in which there are no such exceptions.

"If we apply the 2006 regulation, thus denying them remissions, we will be violating their rights," the minister said.

The 2006 regulation stipulates prisoners are granted sentence reductions if they show good conduct during their detention period. However, under the same regulation, convicts serving life sentences and those on death row are denied remissions.

The government grants remissions for prisoners in the run-up to special yearly occasions, such as Independence Day, Idul Fitri and Christmas.
Ahead of last year's Independence Day, 63,892 prisoners in penitentiaries nationwide received remissions. Out of a total of 132,869 prisoners, 6,641 were released.