Indonesia reduces sentence of Christian inmates for Christmas

Basuki-Ahok-Tjahaja-Purnama-indonesia-1PETALING JAYA: Indonesia reduced the prison sentences of more than 9,000 Christian inmates on Christmas Day, as part of its policy of sentence remissions to convicts for good conduct on its independence day and during major religious festivals.

According to the Jakarta Globe, Indonesia’s justice and human rights ministry reduced the prison sentences of 9,333 Christian inmates, with 175 of them being eligible for release as a result.

The report added that former Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama was among those who received sentence reductions.

“Yes, he received a sentence remission of 15 days,” a spokesman for the corrections directorate-general told the daily.

Ahok was sentenced to two years jail in May this year, after being found guilty of blasphemy.

“The sentence remissions range from 15 days to two months. It depends on how much of their sentence the prisoners have served,” Sri Puguh Budi Utami, a corrections official at the ministry said in a statement.

Sri added that inmates must serve a minimum of six months in prison before they can qualify for a sentence reduction.

According to the Jakarta Globe, the ministry uses the policy of reducing sentences to overcrowding in prisons and correctional facilities.

“The sentence remission for 9,333 convicts, will potentially save the state Rp3.8 billion (RM1.15 million),” Sri said, adding that this cost is mainly for food.