The Jakarta Post
The Riau Police have charged 29 people in connection with starting forest fires to clear land for plantations in the province last June.
"Among the suspects are field workers and plantation owners," Riau Police chief Brig Gen, Condro Kirono said in Pekanbaru, Riau, on Monday, as quoted by the Antara news agency.
According to the police, some of the suspects were already on trial for their alleged misconduct, while others were undergoing further investigation.
All the suspects are accused of violating Article 46, 48, and 49 of the plantation regulation and Articles 117,118 and 119 of the environmental regulation and face sentences of between three and 10 years in prison.
Last June, much of Riau province was blanketed by a thick haze caused by the fires, displacing thousands of people. Neighboring countries such as Singapore and Malaysia filed complaints with Indonesia as haze from the burning forests entered their territories.
Previously, the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) had asked the government to take the strictest possible action against those who set the fires.
"Police and related ministries should be firm against perpetrators of environmental crimes," said the forum's national manager of policy and legal defense executive, Muhnur Satyahaprabu.
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