Ex-Bank Indonesia Governor Freed After 2 Years in Prison

By : webadmin | on 11:29 PM March 07, 2010
Category : Archive

Disgraced former Bank Indonesia Governor Burhanuddin Abdullah was released from his privileged life behind bars over the weekend and is now staying at his home in Cimahi, West Java, according to a relative.

Agus Gumilar, a member of Burhanuddin’s extended family, said the former head of the central bank was released from Sukamiskin Prison in Bandung on Saturday.

Media have previously reported that Burhanuddin and other high-profile inmates such as Pollycarpus Priyanto, who was convicted of murdering human rights campaigner Munir Said Thalib, were enjoying special privileges in prison, including not having to consort with the general prison population and being allowed to decorate and furnish their cells as they saw fit.

On Saturday, more than 60 cars and nine buses carrying supporters from the Garut Community Group and the Indonesian Students’ Association arrived to collect the former BI governor.

Burhanuddin said that the supporters showed that he had nothing to be ashamed of. “After this, with the help of my friends, I want to dedicate my life to this nation,” he said in front of the crowd after he exited the prison.

Wearing a white shirt, a smiling Burhanuddin waved to his supporters, a few of whom handed him bouquets of jasmine flowers. He said that he had remained healthy during his two years in prison and that he kept hoping for a better future. “I’m happy because a lot of people, some of whom had never visited me, came to pick me up,” he said.

Burhanuddin, who was elected BI governor in May 2003, was detained in March 2008 for his involvement in a Rp 100 billion ($10.8 million) embezzlement scandal in a central bank-affiliated foundation.

The Anti-Corruption Court found that Rp 31.5 billion of the money was used to bribe 52 members of the House of Representatives’ finance commission to solicit favorable amendments to the law regarding the central bank and an endorsement in a dispute with the Finance Ministry over state bailout funds injected into ailing banks at the height of the 1998 Asian financial crisis.

Burhanuddin was originally sentenced to five years in prison, which was extended by another six months after an appeal at the Jakarta High Court. The Supreme Court reduced his sentence to three years last August . He obtained an early conditional release after serving two-thirds of his sentence and paying a Rp 200 million fine, but he has to report monthly to the Bandung prison.

His lawyer, Dodi Abdulkadir, said the government must rehabilitate Burhanuddin’s name and status, and said they could seek a judicial review of the case.

Roni Suherman, a student from Garut University who showed up for Burhanuddin’s release , said he was an example of a good leader, a man willing to take responsibility. “He was sentenced as a consequence of his responsibilities as the BI governor,” Roni said, “anyone who aspires to be a leader should look up to Burhanuddin.”

During a small ceremony before his release, violence erupted as a member of Asgar Jaya Mass Organization tried to prevent a cameraman from taking footage of Burhanuddin’s family. But police stepped in and arrested the person.


Antara, JG