Indonesia to Get Tougher on Graft Convicts Before Next Idul Fitri: Minister

By webadmin on 05:22 pm Aug 20, 2012
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Ezra Sihite

The Indonesian government said it will tighten regulations on sentence cuts for corruption convicts before next year’s Idul Fitri holiday, Justice and Human Rights Minister Amir Syamsuddin said on Monday.

Well-behaved Indonesian convicts historically receive sentence reductions head of Independence Day and Idul Fitri. This year, 27 graft convicts — including Gayus Tambunan — housed in West Java jails were scheduled to receive sentence cuts, despite a moratorium on sentence reductions passed last year.

Under current regulations, graft convicts are eligible for sentence cuts after serving one-third of their sentence. The proposed changes would require corruption convicts to serve half of their sentence before they become eligible for reductions.

But these changes, hampered by Indonesia’s bureaucracy, were unable to affect sentence reductions this year. The reforms still need to go through a “harmonization” period to ensure that the changes are in line with current laws.

“Remission tightening could not be implemented yet,” Amir said. “But ‘inshallah’ [‘God willing’] it can be done next year.”

The government faced criticism this year after announcing holiday sentence reductions for the 27 graft convicts, a move that seemingly flies in the face of the presidential moratorium. Last year, ministers came under similar fire after proposing a sentence cut for Gayus, who is facing a 30-year sentence for accepting more than $7 million in bribes while working as a tax official.

Deputy Justice and Human Rights Minister Denny Indrayana responded to the backlash by issuing a moratorium on sentence reductions for graft convicts in an effort to “strengthen the deterrent effect for organized criminals.”

The moratorium is reportedly still in effect, according to Ministry of Justice and Human Rights spokesman Goncang Raharjo.