Govt wants Indonesians freed after cutting Corby’s sentence
A senior minister says that Indonesia hopes that Australia will release the Indonesian citizens it has imprisoned after President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono reduced Schapelle Corby’s drug-smuggling sentence.
While stating that there was no quid-pro-quo, Law and Human Rights Minister Amir Syamsudin said on Wednesday that Corby’s release “should encourage Australia to release Indonesians detained in Australia or reduce their sentences.”
Meanwhile, Teuku Faizasyah, the President’s spokesman for foreign affairs, echoed Amir’s statement, saying that the government would continue to petition Australia to reduce the sentences of the Indonesian citizens in its prisons.
“This and the Corby case are two different matters and don’t directly correspond to each other,” Teuku said.
According to various reports, several hundred Indonesian migrants, including children, have been arrested by Australian law-enforcement agencies at sea and have spent months in that nation’s detention centers.
The Associated Press reported that Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr said that there would be no special treatment for Indonesian minors charged with people smuggling in return for Corby’s clemency.
It also reported that the clemency announcement came about a week after Australia released three young Indonesians from prison based on new evidence that they might not be adults.
Carr denied that Australia’s decision was part of any reciprocal agreement.
“We’d be making that decision about those minors if there were no Schapelle Corby. We’d be doing it because it’s unconscionable to hold minors in adult prisons,” he said as quoted by the Associated Press.
Yudhoyono signed a letter granting clemency to Corby on May 15 based on recommendations from the Supreme Court and relevant ministries.
Corby was arrested in 2004 for smuggling 4.1 kilograms of marijuana from Australia into Bali in a body-board bag.
The 34-year-old, who was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment, has been incarcerated in the women’s wing of Bali’s maximum-security prison, Kerobokan Penitentiary.
The five-year remission granted by Yudhoyono, when coupled with an additional 25 months of reductions that she has received since 2006, may mean that Corby will be freed on parole later this year.
Former law and human rights minister Yusril Ihza Mahendra criticized Yudhoyono for flip-flopping on his own policy.
“The President has issued a Government Regulation in 2006 concerning tighter [clemency] requirements for convicts of corruption, narcotics, terrorism and transnational crimes, and now he has proposed this sentence cut,” he said.
Yudhoyono’s flip-flop on Corby
June 28, 2005: President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono refused to grant clemency for Corby, arguing that no Indonesian president had ever shown clemency to drug convicts.
July 28, 2006: Yudhoyono issued a regulation tightening remissions for people convicted of drug, graft, terror, logging and transnational crimes.
May 15, 2012: Yudhoyono signed a clemency letter that cut Corby’s prison sentence by five years.
Source: The Jakarta Post