BNN chief: Own up before 2016 or face prosecution
Fedina S. Sundaryani
The Jakarta Post
The government has given until the beginning of 2016 for drug users to turn themselves in so that they can be rehabilitated without fear of facing criminal charges.
National Narcotics Agency (BNN) chief Comr. Gen. Budi Waseso told reporters on Wednesday that next year all drug users, whether they were caught by law enforcement authorities or turned themselves in, would face charges.
'However, we are now giving [all drug users] the chance to turn themselves in,' he said following a meeting with the coordinating political, legal and security affairs minister in Central Jakarta.
Budi also said the prosecution process would target first-time users, and rehabilitation would also be available in prison.
The drug users and addicts would be placed in separate prisons in the hope that it would speed up their rehabilitation.
'[They need to be legally processed] because we also need [support] in our investigation. We must uncover [drug trafficking] networks,' he said.
Budi also emphasized that arrested drug traffickers would not be given the opportunity to undergo rehabilitation even if they were also drug addicts.
'We must break the chain of [drug] mafias so that they do not continue with their games,' he said.
Earlier this year, President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo declared that the nation was in a 'narcotics emergency' and called for the death penalty for drug dealers; he also rejected the clemency pleas of numerous convicted traffickers.
However, despite the harsh penalties for drug dealers, drug abuse reportedly continues to be rampant in the country.
The BNN estimated that between 3.8 million and 4.2 million people aged between 10 and 59 had used or were actively using drugs in 2014.
National Police chief Gen. Badrodin Haiti previously sent an internal telegram recommending that drug users be immediately sent to rehabilitation centers after being assessed by doctors and legal experts, instead of locking them up in detention centers, as Law No. 35/2005 on narcotics allows the police to do.
Budi has dismised Badrodin's internal telegram, saying that 'the law was clearly more important than internal telegrams. I still believe that investigators should look at the law'.
Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna H. Laoly also confirmed that starting next year all drug users would be legally processed and locked up.
'They will be imprisoned, of course. They cannot [just be rehabilitated]. However, we will ensure that they are imprisoned separately from drug traffickers,' he said.
Anti-Narcotic National Movement (Granat) founder Henry Yosodingrat had said that the government must treat casual drug users and drug addicts different. The latter, he believes, should be rehabilitated while the former should be incarcerated as a deterrent from drug use.
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