Thu, 18 Aug 1994

1,422 criminals regain their freedom this year

JAKARTA (JP): The 49th anniversary of Indonesia's Independence Day yesterday saw 1,422 convicts walk to freedom. While for 15,379 others, the day brought them one step closer to a return to society.

President Soeharto, as has been his tradition on Independence Day, granted remissions ranging from between one to six months to convicts who behaved themselves for the past year.

A total of 16,801 convicts qualified for remissions this year, including some political prisoners, according to the Antara news agency.

Convicts who are serving life terms do not qualify. Those who violated regulations while serving their jail terms are also disqualified.

East Timor rebel leader Jose Alexandre "Xanana" Gusmao, who is serving a 20-year jail term in Jakarta, did not qualify apparently because he smuggled out a letter to the Portuguese government and the International Jurists Commission last December. Xanana's life sentence had been reduced to 20 years last year by a presidential order.

"Xanana was not proposed for remission this year, because his name was recorded in the Letter F book," head of the Jakarta office of the Ministry of Justice, Mohammad C. Alamsyah Boer said last Saturday. The Letter F book is a standard book in every penitentiary to record disciplinary violations committed by the inmates.

Remissions are granted to those serving more than six months. The amount of remission increases each year from one month to a maximum of six months. (02)