[JURIST] Indonesian prisoners who have been convicted of terrorism, drug offenses, illegal logging and corruption this year did not receive the sentence reductions that most of the prisoners traditionally receive on Indonesia's Independence Day [backgrounder], August 17. Indonesian officials previously said that sentence reductions were a constitutional right afforded to all criminals regardless of their crimes, as part of Indonesia's prisoner remission program conducted annually [Australian report] to mark the country's independence from Dutch colonial rule. Prisoners in good standing typically received a remission unless they were on death row or serving life sentences, but this year, increasing concerns over crime and the country's image as one of the most corrupt [rankings list; regional analysis, PDF] worldwide contributed to the change of policy. This Independence day, it is estimated that 55,000 prisoners received sentence reductions of up to six months, and another 5,700 were released. AP has more. The Jakarta Post has additional coverage.
For Independence Day in 2006, Indonesian authorities cut the sentences of 54,000 prisoners, including to 10 men involved in the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings. Those remissions sparked public outcries [AFP report], particularly in Australia. Nearly half of the victims of the 2002 nightclub bombings hailed from Australia. In June 2006, Australian Prime Minister John Howard [official website] denounced the release of an Indonesian Muslim cleric convicted on conspiracy charges in relation to the bombings. His sentence was reduced [JURIST reports] during the 2005 remission program.