JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Indonesia might not be feeling too merry during Christmas and New Year’s, as the government restricted travel and mass gatherings to celebrate the holidays.
But 12 thousand prisoners are still feeling the Christmas spirit, after the government granted remissions for their prison sentences because of the holidays.
In contrast, a Hajj travel bureau owner in Mojokerto, East Java is not in a holiday mood, after the Detachment 88 [Densus 88] counterterrorist police arrested him for his alleged involvement in terrorism.
And last but not least, Indonesia continues to defy US President Donal Trump’s offers of $2 billion in aid and investment in exchange for establishing diplomatic relations with Israel. Read on about these articles and more, as curated by our editors:
1. Government Issues Christmas Remissions to Nearly 12 Thousand Prisoners
The Ministry of Law and Human Rights has granted remissions to 11,669 Christian and Catholic prison inmates.
“The remissions are a form of the state’s appreciation for those prison inmates who genuinely tried to [reform], and whose behavior showed their intent to change,” said the Ministry’s Director General on Prisons Reynhard Silitonga in a press release on Thursday, December 24.
“11,474 prisoners earned reduced sentences, while 195 were immediately set free. Of these, 2,306 inmates had their sentences reduced by 15 days, while 7,254 saw their sentences reduced by a month.”
Reynhard added that 1,497 prisoners got sentence reductions of a month and a half, while 417 others saw their sentences cut down by two months.
Most inmates came from North Sumatra with 2,152, followed by East Nusa Tenggara [1,730] and North Sulawesi with 929. To date, there are 22,246 Christian prison inmates in Indonesia’s prison
2. Densus 88 Counterterrorist Police Nabs Hajj Travel Bureau Owner as Terrorism Suspect
Detachment 88 counterrorism police are reported to arrest the owner of a hajj pilgrimage travel bureau in East Java’s Mojokerto regency.
“[The police] carried out the operation at the house of one Hanif Ali Bahost alias Abu Dayyan bin Ali Muhammad. His wife and three children happened to be at the home during the raid,” said East Java Regional Police spokesman Police Chief Commissioner Trunoyudo Wisnu Andiko.
“Among the evidence we confiscated during the raid were a bow and arrows, knives and other sharp weapons, and identification in the form of his and his wife’s ID card and passports.” Trunoyudo did not specify who Hanif’s accomplices were or if he is planning any attacks.
The bust comes days after the Jakarta Metropolitan Police arrested members of a drug ring and confiscated a 201 kg cache of crystal meth in Central Jakarta’s Petamburan district. They raised the possibility that it is related to terrorism, but have yet to confirm that possibility.
3. Indonesia Unfazed By US Govt's $2 Billion Offer to Normalize Relations With Israel
Indonesia remains unmoved by US President Donald Trump’s $2 billion offer to normalize relations with Israel.
“[Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi] has made it clear that Indonesia does not and will not have any intentions of establishing diplomatic relations with Israel,” said Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah on Thursday, December 24.
He added that Indonesian President Joko Widodo maintained Indonesia’s stance during a conversation with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas last week.
The Indonesia Ulama Council or MUI, also called on the Indonesian government not to normalize relations with Israel.
“We urge the [Indonesian] government to assert its support for Palestinian independence, as it is in line with its free and active foreign policy under the 1945 constitution,” said MUI chairman Miftachul Akhyar.
In an interview with Bloomberg on Tuesday, December 22, US International Development Finance Cooperation Chief Executive Officer Adam Boehler said “We’re talking to [Indonesia] about [establishing diplomatic relations with Israel].”
The US hoped Indonesia will join Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, and other Middle Eastern countries in establishing diplomatic relations with Israel in a peace plan brokered by Trump’s advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner.
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