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Jakarta Post

Families of Pekanbaru penitentiary inmates report extortion attempts

  • Rizal Harahap

    The Jakarta Post

Pekanbaru, Riau   /   Mon, May 8, 2017   /   06:13 pm
Families of Pekanbaru penitentiary inmates report extortion attempts Police personnel arrest inmates who fled Sialang Bungkuk Penitentary in Pekanbaru, Riau, on May 5. (JP/File)

Families of the remaining inmates at the Class IIB Sialang Bungkuk Penitentiary in Pekanbaru, Riau, have reportedly become targets of extortion following the escape of 448 prisoners.

Following a riot on Friday, hundreds of families of the remaining inmates complained that some of the prisoners had been transferred to faraway prisons without prior notification.

Susanti, mother of an inmate named Reza, said her son had been moved to Pasir Pangaraian prison, a three-and-a-half hour drive from Sialang Bungkuk, “upon arrival there, he called me to say that someone had asked him for Rp 2 million [US$150] to get a better cell. He now must sleep in a bathroom because we haven’t paid.”

The widow added that she was often forced to pay Rp 500,000 at Sialang Bungkuk for a comfortable cell for Reza. “[Furthermore] I had to pay Rp 50,000 and prepare a pack of cigarettes every time I visited my son.”

Saut, whose son Hendro was also moved to Pasir Pangaraian, complained about the transfer as Hendro only had one more month of his sentence to serve. “I don’t have any family members [in Pasir Pangaraian], it is too far.”

Acting Sialang Bungkuk penitentiary head Azhar admitted that the transfer of the inmates was carried out without coordination with their families. “The transfers were carried out without data verification amid a chaotic situation,” he said, adding that 351 prisoners were transferred to prisons in Bangkinang, Pasir Pangaraian and Rengat.

As of Monday, 149 of 448 escaped inmates were still at large.