Mon, 22 Dec 2003

Five inmates break out of prison in Pontianak

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Five inmates broke out of a prison on Jl. Adisucipto in the West Kalimantan regency of Pontianak on Saturday at 3 a.m.

The escape was the second this year, after other five inmates escaped the same prison four months ago.

According to a source at the prison, a class two prison, the five inmates broke out of the penitentiary after they sawed through the iron bars in the window of their cell. The escape was only noticed by a prison guard at 7 a.m, or four hours after the breakout.

The information on the escape of the five inmates only became public after Robin Sianturi, the warden of the penitentiary, requested the assistance on Saturday midday of the West Kalimantan Provincial Police.

The five inmates were Achmad Jaiz, 24, who was serving one year in jail for robbery, Zamroni, 25, serving two years and 10 months for theft, Safarudin, serving 20 years for murder, Ardiansyah, serving 18 years for murder and Andi M. Yusuf, serving two years minor assault.

As of Saturday afternoon, prison guards were keeping quiet, saying that the prison warden was the only official authorized to give an official explanation over the incident. They suggested that journalists should come back on Monday when the warden of the prison is expected to be back at his desk.

But, a prison guard was finally prepared to state what happened. He recounted that he had actually heard that the five inmates planned to escape.

"I received information from other inmates on Friday that the five were going to escape in the near future, and I warned the other guards to pay particular attention to the cell where the five were housed," he was quoted as saying by Antara news agency.

He failed to understand how the five inmates were still able to escape despite the warning.

According to the guard, after getting out of their cell, the escapees went straight to a empty guard post that was about two meters away from the cell's window and was up tight against the prison wall.

They then climbed the guard post, and climbed down the other side of the prison wall using three sarongs they had tied together.

Meanwhile, some 10 police personnel from the Pontianak Police, led by Second Insp. Laminto, entered the prison on Saturday afternoon to help investigate the case.

Laminto said that he had seized the three sarongs and saw used to cut through the bars in the prisoners' cell.

Prison escapes are common in Indonesia. The largest occurred in September this year when 52 inmates broke out of a prison in Batam after they sawed through the iron bars in their cells and attacked six on-duty guards. The prison was housing 509 prisoners at the time, even though it was actually built to accommodate 220 inmates at the maximum.

Poor conditions in prisons and corruption are generally blamed as the causes of the frequent escapes.