Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Children's Trial in Tangerang
Are children playing a tossing-coin game dangerous for our society ?
That's the question that I asked myself after I read the news about 10 children, aged between 11 and 15, who were found Guilty of Gambling by the Judges of the District Court of Tangerang on Monday 27 July.
My above question is obvious, because the basis of the Court's verdict is Penal Code Article 303 which bans Gambling and carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. While actually those children were merely playing a tossing-coin game with the prize of Rp 1.000,-(= 10 US Cents), when they were arrested by the Police at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport on 29 May. For which, those children have to spent 29 days in confinement at the Tangerang Juvenile Detention Center.
Although the Court did not sent the children to prison, but sent them home to their parents based on the Children Protection Law, however the whole Court proceedings, which required the children to wear masks, have been widely criticized by the public, especially human rights activists and children protection agency. They argued that the guilty verdict will give the children labels as convicts.
In reaction to the public criticism, the chief of the council of judges for the trial explained that the guilty verdict was meant to educate those children so as not to repeat their action.
While the Attorney General Office explained that the Children Protection Law cannot be used as basis for indicting a case of Gambling by children, because Gambling is regulated by the Penal Code.
For details on the above, please click here, here, here, here, and here
As a father of a young son, I pray to God that such kind of verdict would be the last one passed on children playing games. I also hope that in the future all the judges in Indonesia would always be careful whenever trying cases that involve children i.e. by always using the Children Protection Law as basis, and consider the children psychological characteristics.
Photo: Courtesy of Detik