The Constitutional Court on Tuesday (07/11) rejected a judicial review request that would have challenged the country’s 1995 Correctional Law on sentence reductions for corruption convicts.
The Court declared that “…the request has no basis according to the law.”
In August, five corruption convicts, including lawyer Otto Cornelis Kaligis, former speaker of the Regional Representative Council (DPD) Irman Gusman and former Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali, filed the review, arguing that their constitutional rights had been violated because they were unable to receive sentence remission and referred to the 1995 Correctional Law as “discriminatory” because of the strict requirements that corruption convicts must fulfill to receive aforementioned remission.
According to the term of conditions for sentence remission, a convict can receive a sentence reduction by displaying good behavior during his or her correctional period, after serving a minimum six months prison term and if the individual is not under disciplinary punishment.
However, inmates convicted of corruption charges must meet additional requirements to receive a remitted sentence, including a willingness to cooperate with law enforcement to testify or provide details about co-conspirators, pay fines and provide the state with any embezzle funds.
“Remission is not categorized under human rights or constitutional rights […] Therefore, the request made is outside of the Court’s jurisdiction to examine, hear and decide upon,” Constitutional Court judge Manahan M.P. Sitompul said, according to a statement.
The Court’s decision was lauded by civil society organizations, including the civil society alliance on limiting corruptors’ remission (AKAMSI).
“This decision must be appreciated, because it indirectly strengthens the argument that the rights of convicts to receive remission is not a constitutional right, but rather a legal right that can only be acquired if the convicts have fulfilled requirements under the 1995 Correctional Law,” AKAMSI said in a statement.
However, the alliance also noted that the Court did not check if the individuals had indeed fulfilled their requirements for remission and said that this could “postulate their aggrievement argument for not receiving remission.”