Govt to tighten up regulation on reducing prison terms
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The government is preparing a draft regulation that will serve as a new guideline for officials in granting prison-term reductions for convicts.
The draft regulation will replace the 2006 Government Regulation on Remissions for Inmates.
The revision, currently being discussed at the Law and Human Rights Ministry with inputs from the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), the National Narcotics Agency (BNN), the National Police and Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW), will set strict terms and conditions for inmates to receive such reductions.
Law and Human Rights Minister Amir Syamsuddin said recently the government had targeted to complete the work this year so that it could be implemented next year.
“We are revising the regulation to tighten the remission policy as suggested by several groups. We have discussed the issue with related institutions, such as the police and the Attorney General’s Office, which have agreed on the importance of carefully selecting inmates to receive jail term cuts,” Amir said.
Amir added that the revision was driven by criticisms against the remission of around 50,000 prisoners, particularly those convicted of graft practices.
The government, for example, granted a four-month jail term cut to Gayus H. Tambunan, a former tax official convicted in a large-scale corruption scandal, during the commemoration of Independence Day and in observance of the Islamic Idul Fitri festival.
Gayus is currently serving his jail term at Sukamiskin Penitentiary in Bandung, West Java, for several crimes, from helping companies evade taxes to falsifying passports and bribing a judge and police officers.
In addition to Gayus, the government has also granted a five-month sentence reduction, plus a one-month-and-20-day reduction to another high profile convict, former Garuda Indonesia pilot Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto, who was sentenced for his role in the murder of human rights activist Munir Said Thalib.
Despite criticisms from human rights groups, the government has granted eight remissions to Pollycarpus since 2008, including the latest last week, cutting his jail term by a total of 31 months from the 20-year imprisonment.
“The public is furious about the growing corrupt practices involving officials or civil servants. The government has no other choice but to consider the public’s calls for justice,” prominent law expert, and former constitutional court chief, Jimly Asshiddiqie, said on Tuesday.
Jimly applauded the government’s initiative to revise the regulation on granting the rights of the inmates, but suggested to also monitor the implementation of all regulations to ensure that justice was enforced.
“Revising a regulation is good but it’s not enough. We must remember that the efficacy of a regulation is not about the existence of it per se but also about the way it’s implemented. Therefore, the government must also strictly implement all regulations it has issued, including on granting sentence reductions to convicts,” he said.
Article 34 of the 2006 Government Regulation on Remissions for Inmates stipulates that inmates convicted of corruption, terrorism, drug running, gross human rights violations and organized transnational crimes, are eligible for reductions in their sentences if they exhibit good behavior and must have served at least one-third of their respective sentences.