August 18, 2020, 06.37 PM

JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – The Indonesian government has granted its annual independence day remission of sentences to hundreds of thousands of prison inmates throughout Indonesia.

Justice and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly announced that 119,175 convicts, both adults and juvenile delinquents, will be entitled to the measure. “Most of the [convicts] will be given reduced sentences ranging from one to six months,” he said in a press release.

“A smaller number of 1,843 of convicts will be released [from jail]. But whether the convicts have reduced sentences or released, the remissions are a token of the state’s appreciation for their commitment to reform themselves.”

Also read: Indonesian Journalist in South Kalimantan Gets Jail Time for Divisive Article

Yasonna added that remissions are part of Indonesia’s commitment to rehabilitate and reform convicts before assimilating them to society, as well as respecting individual rights under the law.

He added that the convicts should show a number of qualities to make them eligible for release, such as remorse, good behavior and a willingness to change their ways.

Among those eligible for release are Bulgarian nationals Vladimir Hristovorov Veleb, Stancho Mihaylov Stanev, and Mitko Venelinov Borisov. The trio have their prison sentences slashed by four months, after which they will be deported to Bulgaria.

Police in Lombok arrested Veleb, Stanev and Borisov in September 2017 after they skimmed over Rp. 3 billion [$203,537] in ATMs throughout the island in a crime spree lasting over a year.

Also read: Ex-Prisoner Takes to Twitter to Expose Extortion, Drugs in Indonesian Prison

Director-General for Penitentiaries Reynhard Slitonga said the prison remission does as much wonders for the state as it does for the convicts. “The [remissions] have saved the state over Rp. 176 billion [$11,939,674] in feeding and upkeeping the convicts.”

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