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Indonesia moves to lengthen jail terms JAKARTA - Jemaah Islamiah terrorists and Australian drug offenders will spend more years in jail with Indonesia deciding to curtail their sentence remissions. Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has approved regulations forcing all terrorists, drug offenders and prisoners convicted of several other serious crimes to serve at least two-thirds of their original sentences. They will not be eligible for regular remissions issued to other prisoners until they have served at least a third of their jail terms.

The Age has obtained a copy of the new regulations, which have not been announced. They have been drawn up following an outcry against large sentence cuts for former JI leader Abu Bakar Bashir and terrorists convicted in relation to the Bali bombings. The Australian Government has strongly objected to the sentence cuts for terrorists and Bashir, who served only 2 years for approving of the first Bali bombing.

Until now, all prisoners have automatically received sentence reductions at least twice a year, which can halve their jail terms. Normally, a prisoner sentenced to 20 years could expect to spend 10 years or less in jail but, under the changes, would have to serve nearly 14 years. The new guidelines are likely to apply to convicted marijuana smuggler Schapelle Corby and members of the Bali nine heroin-smuggling gang who are sentenced to prison terms, and who are yet to be granted remissions because they are appealing their sentences.

An Indonesian Justice Ministry official indicated the guidelines would not apply to prisoners who have already received remissions, but how they would be applied to foreign prisoners, such as Corby, would become a "political issue". They are likely to be enforced against four terrorists recently found guilty of assisting the second bombings in Bali last October.

A spokesman for Indonesia's Foreign Ministry said the new rules on remissions would be used as a guide for when Australian prisoners could be transferred home under a proposed prisoner exchange treaty. The regulations mean that Schapelle Corby and members of the Bali nine jailed for 20 years would probably need to serve more than six years in an Indonesian prison before being eligible for sentence cuts or a return to Australia.

The new restrictions will also apply to corruption convictions, gross human rights abuses and organised transnational crime. Australia and Indonesia have been in dispute over when prisoners would be eligible for transfer home. Australia has pushed for return after one or two years, while Indonesia had wanted them to serve at least half their sentences. The changes indicate they would be eligible after serving a third of their terms. Justice Ministry official Sukartono Supangkat said that the new remission regulations should come into effect by January.


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Posted in Human rights @ 09 October 2006 02:30 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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