Jakarta. The Ministry of Justice and Human Rights has reduced the prison sentences of 9,333 Christian inmates on Christmas Day, with 175 of them being released early.
Indonesia traditionally grants sentence remissions to convicts for good conduct on Independence Day and during major religious festivals, in accordance with their religion.
"The sentence remissions range from 15 days to two months. It depends on how much of their sentence the prisoners have served," Sri Puguh Budi Utami, secretary of the Directorate General of Corrections at the Justice and Human Rights Ministry, said in a statement on Saturday (23/12).
Former Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama is among those who have received sentence reductions.
"Yes, he received a sentence remission of 15 days," Corrections Directorate General spokesman Ade Kusmanto told the Jakarta Globe on Monday.
Sri said inmates must serve a minimum of six months in prison before they can qualify for a sentence reduction.
There are currently around 233,000 convicts and detainees in Indonesia's 526 prisons and correctional facilities, the ministry said.
Reducing sentences is also a solution to overcrowding in prisons and correctional facilities, said Harun Sulianto, director of inmate correction and vocational training at the ministry.
"The sentence remission for 9,333 convicts … will potentially save the state Rp 3.8 billion [$280,000]," Sri said, adding that this cost is mainly for food.