Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Does Justice Exist Here?

My letter to the Jakarta Post:

Can someone please explain to me what is wrong with this country? Reading the Post these days is an exercise in reading news of the most absurd extremes.

A 12 year old boy in North Sumatera was threatened with seven years in prison for allegedly stealing "tin rods" (Post, 8 Feb) and if that outrageous sentence was not bad enough, he had already been held in an adult prison since December last year. Without ever being proven guilty of any crime, he has already served three months in prison with real convicted criminals. (I would like to express my deep respect and gratitude to Judge Budiman Sitorus who acquitted the boy and ordered his immediate release. Better late than never.)

Then, just a few days later, this news: ex-speaker of West Java legislative council threatened with 18 months in prison for alleged misuse of public funds (Post, 2 March). Oh well, I thought, he must have taken quite a small amount of the people's money, certainly less than the cost of few pieces of metal (tin rods). Wrong! He is charged with embezzling Rp. 33.4 billion or about $US 6.6 million! Is only 18 months in prison a serious sentence, or are the prosecutors joking? And the real kicker is he is "allowed to retain [his post] in the House of Representatives" while the trial continues.

And of course we have the now infamous case of Tommy Soeharto who was convicted of ordering the cold-blooded murder of a Supreme Court Justice. How long for that crime? Four years.

Can anyone else see the insanity here? May I suggest a name change for this government institution: "The Department of [Who Cares About] Justice". Surely this is a more appropriate name for them.

If the government can't even perform a simple logistical task of standardizing sentencing policy for minor and serious crimes, then God help us if they ever build a nuclear reactor! And please don't tell me about regional autonomy (RA) as the reason for different sentences. The government and the House gave us RA and they could certainly take it away or modify it if they actually cared about justice in this country.

Seven years for pieces of metal? Who is looking after our children if the government is not?

Gene Netto

Jakarta, Indonesia

Published on 7 February, 2007

1 comment:

  1. Indonesia masih mengunakan pedoman lama peninggalan penjajah kolonial Belanda untuk pelaksanaan hukuman bagi warganegara yang melakukan kejahatan. KUHPidana maupun KUHPerdata yang menjadi landasan tsb sudah tidak sesuai dengan zaman dan perlu segera di perbaharui. Selain itu mentalitas para penegak hukum yang tidak credible dalam menjalankan tugasnya. Karena kebanyakan orang sekarang menuhankan UANG jadi hukum bisa dibeli. Semoga keadaan ini bisa berubah di masa2 mendatang dan InsyaAllah akan lahir generasi2 penerus yang takut akan Allah SWT. Amin


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