Monday, August 23, 2010

The Controversial Sentence Remission

As in previous years, during the commemoration of Indonesia's Independence on 17 August, President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono (SBY) granted Sentence Remission i.e. reduction of jail term, to many people who are serving jail sentence.

This remission has enabled many of the inmates to be released from jail before their time.

This year's decision has caused strong protests from many people, because many of the released inmates were people who were jailed for Corruption, including the father in law SBY's son.
Some members of the House of Representatives have even proposed to end Sentence Remission as reported by The Jakarta Globe (below).

Considering the above I hope that in the future decision to grant Sentence Remission would be done more carefully based on the best interest of the people and country, and not on personal and/or group interests.

Legislators Differ Over Call To End Sentence Remissions
Anita Rachman | August 23, 2010

Haris Rusly of pro-democracy group Petisi 28 files a protest to the president via the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights regarding the ease with which clemency is granted to graft convict. (JG Photo/Afriadi Hikmal)
Haris Rusly of pro-democracy group Petisi 28 files a protest to the president via the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights regarding the ease with which clemency is granted to graft convict. (JG Photo/Afriadi Hikmal)

Jakarta. A call to cut out a host of clemency options currently enjoyed by corruption convicts has drawn a mixed reaction from the House of Representatives, which has produced a fair amount of such convicts over the years.

House Speaker Marzuki Alie, from the ruling Democratic Party, said that denying graft convicts sentence reductions, presidential pardons, parole or social reintegration programs would require amending the entire 2006 Corrections Law under which they are regulated.

“While it’s possible, it’s not as simple as some might think,” he said on Monday.

“I’m not going to take sides before we hold a discussion on the issue and hear what the legal experts have to say about it.”

On Sunday, legislators from House Commission III, which oversees legal affairs, proposed discussing the ban for corruption convicts.

Those making the call include Tjatur Sapto Edy of the National Mandate party (PAN), who is the commission’s deputy chairman, and Golkar legislators Nudirman Munir and Bambang Soesatyo.

The issue came to the fore last week following the early release of several high-profile corruption convicts, including former Bank Indonesia deputy governor Aulia Pohan, the father-in-law of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s eldest son.

Aulia had only a day earlier also been granted a remission, or sentence cut, in commemoration of Independence Day on Aug. 17.

Meanwhile, House Deputy Speaker Priyo Budi Santoso, from Golkar, said he supported the ban to prevent giving graft convicts a “Get-out-of-jail-free” card.

“As long as it doesn’t affect clemency articles in the Constitution, I believe it’s worth looking at the ban,” he said.

He added the controversy spawned by the seemingly favorable treatment given to graft convicts should serve as a wake-up call for the government to punish corruptors more harshly.

However, Anis Matta, a deputy House speaker from the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), said that while the proposed changes should be evaluated, he warned against rescinding all options for clemency for graft convicts.

He argued that much of the bad publicity was based on isolated cases and that such lenient treatment was the exception rather than the rule.

“Personally, I back only the call to phase out the option of remissions,” Anis said.

He added that in some cases, the graft convicts were themselves “merely victims,” but declined to elaborate.

“Even if we do get rid of remissions, we should be prepared to make exceptions in certain cases,” he said, again declining to say what those cases were.

However, Bambang said that the proposal was relevant to the current state of the corrections system, adding that Commission III would seek to push it into the law books.

“At their trials, these criminals get the minimum sentence, then when they’re eligible for it, they get the maximum remission,” he said.

“What does that say about the system?”

He added that ending remissions, parole and reintegration programs would ensure that corruption convicts were “truly punished” for their crimes.


Seiri Hanako said...

isinya politik lagi..

Indonesian Rhapsody said...

I think this is a dilemma for Mr. President, where he wanted to give a fair remission, without regarding of who he was.
But I agree for a prisoner of corruption cases not to be given remissions, in order to provide for their deterrent effect.

colson said...

Should some convicted criminals be excluded? Those who are murderers, those who are terrorists, those have been convicted for a hit and run road accident, those who were involved in armed robbery, those who were corrupt big time, petty thieves, drug dealers, drug addicts, prostitutes, women traffickers, petty criminals or ...?

I think it is not easy to exempt in a rational way one or two categories from general amnesty.

H. Nizam said...

Iya yah, politik terus. Nanti saya akan ke blog anda, mungkin dapat inspirasi untuk topik lain.

@Indonesian Rhapsody,
This a dilemma indeed, even if Aulia Pohan was not released most likely politicians would still protested.

It is not easy to determine criteria on who is eligible for the remission, but it can be done.

TUKANG CoLoNG said...

remisi dan grasi bagi tahanan, hm...
bingung mau komen kayak gimana. :(

Cormel said...

This is a good blog. Keep up all the work. I too love blogging and expressing my opinions. Thanks :)

H. Nizam said...

Memang masalahnya membingungkan.

Thank you for the kind words.

Passionate Blogger said...

Doesn't sound right, does it - reducing the sentence of rich people? I'd rather the remissions be made for parents who steal to feed their children, or upon the request of victims who has forgiven the criminals, etc. The economic situation being dire, wouldn't such move could adversely affect the public's support towards the current government? Well, what do I know... I'm definitely not a politician!

H. Nizam said...

Ismail/Passionate Blogger,

I agree with you, it would be better if the remission is granted to those who committed crime because they were forced by economic condition e.g feed their children.
Giving it to the wrong person might reduce public support of the current govt.

easyHomebiz4u said...

Your blog is is highly informative and educational.
keep it up.

H. Nizam said...

Thank you very much for your kind words. I really appreciate it.