Friday, March 22

Thousands of Indonesian prisoners to get sentence cuts


EAST KALIMANTAN: Almost 3,000 prisoners across East Kalimantan are set to receive sentence cuts later this month, joining thousands of others nationwide being granted remissions in commemoration of the upcoming Idul Fitri holiday and Independence Day, Antara news says.

Gunarso, head of corrections at the East Kalimantan office of the Justice and Human Rights Ministry, said on Friday that his office had nominated 1,557 inmates for sentence cuts for Independence Day, and another 1,276 for remissions for Idul Fitri, which this year is expected to fall on Aug. 19 or 20.

“The remissions will be given out on August 16, a day before Independence Day,” he said. He added that up to 40 prisoners were expected to be able to walk free after the cuts, which range from 15 days to six months.

Sentence cuts are traditionally given to mark Independence Day and on major religious holidays — Christmas for Christian inmates, Idul Fitri for Muslims, Galungan for Hindus and Waisak for Buddhists.

At the notorious Cilacap narcotics prison on Nusakambangan Island, Central Java, authorities have nominated 457 inmates to get sentence cuts, four of whom could consequently be eligible for release.

Lilik Sujandi, the warden, said 169 prisoners were eligible for the Idul Fitri remission and the rest for Independence Day cuts. To be eligible, an inmate must have served at least six months in prison and exhibited good behavior.

In Southeast Sulawesi, some 644 prisoners at the six penitentiaries across the province have been recommended for remissions, 10 of whom are set to go free.

“The main criteria for being recommended for a remission here is for the inmate to have served at least two-thirds of their total sentence,” said Bohari, the anti-narcotics head at the provincial office of the Justice and Human Rights Ministry.

In Banten, authorities have nominated 2,832 prisoners for Idul Fitri sentence cuts and 3,280 for Independence Day remissions. “This is just a temporary figure because we may recommend more later on,” said Imam Santoso, the head of the provincial Justice Ministry office. “What’s certain is that 174 will go free.”

Several foreigners are also set to get remissions, including Australian Schapelle Corby. Officials at Bali’s Kerobokan Penitentiary have recommended a six-month reduction for the convicted drug smuggler. In May, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono granted Corby a five-year reduction on her 20-year term, bringing her release date to September 2017.

She could be released even sooner if the latest remission is granted.

“In 2011, she got a five-month sentence cut. This year, it is likely she will a get six-month reduction,” said Gusti Ngurah Wiratna, Kerobokan’s warden.