Twenty-seven graft convicts, including Gayus Tambunan, will receive sentence cuts this Independence Day, the West Java chapter of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights announced on Wednesday, in an apparent about face from a moratorium on sentence cuts for corruption convicts issued less than a year ago.
“As far as I know, the moratorium is valid,” ministry spokesman Goncang Raharjo said. “I haven’t been informed about the Gayus sentence cut. I don’t know about it.”
Gayus is currently serving a 30 year sentence for accepting more than $7 million in bribes while working as a tax official. He will be handed a four-month sentence cut for Independence Day and Idul Fitri, said Dedi Sutardi, head of corrections at the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights West Java branch.
So will Puguh Wirawan, who is serving three-and-a-half years for bribing a judge to overvalue his client’s assets by Rp 10 billion ($1.05 million) during a bankruptcy proceeding.
“In total, there are 27 graft convicts in Sukamiskin prison that will get their sentences cut,” Dedi said.
As will convicted murderer Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto.
The former Garuda Indonesia pilot will receive a five-month sentence cut.
Pollycarpus was sentenced to 20 years in prison after being found guilty of spiking human rights activist Munir Said Thalib’s drink with arsenic during a Jakarta to Singapore flight.
Sukamiskin prison officials said that Pollycarpus has helped prison staff with religious and education programs. He will receive another one month and 20 day sentence reduction because of this help.
“Pollycarpus is a religious activist in Sukamiskin prison,” Dedi said. “He’s also active in scout education.”
In total, some 10,000 prisoners in 23 jails spread across West Java will receive Idul Fitri and Independence Day sentence reductions. One hundred sixty of them will get to step outside the prisons’ walls during the holiday.
Last year, former Justice and Human Rights Minister Patrialis Akbar faced harsh criticism for proposing similar sentence reductions for Gayus. A day after he announced the cuts, Patrialis backtracked and revoked the statement.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono reprimanded the minister for being weak on corruption convicts.
One month later, Deputy Justice and Human Rights Minister Denny Indrayana announced a moratorium on sentence reductions for graft convicts in an effort to “strengthen the deterrent effect for organized criminals.”
“Sentence reductions or remissions for corruptors and terrorists should be stopped,” Denny said.