Over 9,000 Receive Jail Term Reductions for Christmas in Indonesia

Over 9,000 Christian prisoners in Indonesia on Christmas day received a reduction in their jail term sentences, including one Christian governor jailed on charges of blasphemy charges.

According to the Jakarta media, the total number of sentences reduced by the Indonesia’s Law and Human Rights Ministry were for 9,333, among which 175 of them were eligible for release.

“Of the total, 175 inmates were freed upon receiving remissions,” The Law and Human Rights Ministry official disclosed.

The news outlet notes that the inmates were eligible for remission this year because of administration and substantive considerations on top of consideration for the type of crimes they committed.

“If an embezzler wants a remission, for instance, they must first obtain justice collaborator status,” the official said.

The length of sentence reduction inmates received differed depending on how much of the sentence they had already served. The reductions varied from 15 days to a maximum of two months, Jakarta media reported, stating that a reduction of a month or longer was given to inmates who have already served anywhere from one to three years.

Among the Christians who received sentence reductions is former Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, who was sentenced to two years in prison earlier this year after he was falsely accused of blasphemy in 2016.

Purnama was in the midst of a heated re-election campaign in 2016 when a man named Buni Yani posted a doctored video to Facebook that purported to show the Christian governor speaking to residents at the Thousand Islands Regency last September.

The subtitles were edited to make viewers think that Purnama blasphemed the Quran although he he had only issued a warning against politicians who use the Quran for political gain.

The video caused much social uproar among tens of thousands of Muslims in Indonesia, who protested and demanded that Purnama be punished.

Although Yani admitted to editing the video and was even convicted in court of violating Article 32 of the 2011 Information and Electronic Transactions Law, Purnama was sentenced to jail anyway.

According to the Jakarta Post, Purnama’s two-year sentence has been reduced by 15 days.

“Pak Ahok has been granted 15 days of remission,” Purnama’s lawyer, Teguh Samudra, was quoted as saying.


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