Jakarta. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has granted clemency to former antigraft agency chairman Antasari Azhar, after he served two-thirds of his 18-year jail term for the murder of a businessman.
Antasari, who served as chairman of the Corruption Eradication Commission, or KPK, from 2007 to 2009, was released on parole in November after seven and a half years, with four and a half years commuted.
He was convicted of ordering the murder of Nasrudin Zulkarnaen, head of a state-owned pharmaceutical firm, in 2009, which triggered public skepticism over the court as hearings revealed a lack of evidence and testimonies against Antasari.
Vice President Jusuf Kalla said clemency was granted for humanitarian reasons, not for political reasons.
“Do not link [this case] to politics. The consideration was that the clemency request was filed a long time ago [...] it had taken years. And it had just been approved after deliberations by the Supreme Court,” Kalla told reporters in Jakarta on Thursday (26/01).
“It was purely for humanitarian reasons,” he added.
Antasari — who surprised many when the House of Representatives picked him as the country's anti-corruption czar in 2008 due to his checkered record as a public prosecutor — was sentenced on Feb. 11, 2010.
The court found him guilty of ordering Nasrudin's murder over a love affair with a female golf caddy in Tangerang, Banten.
While serving at the KPK, Antasari and his team investigated several high-profile cases involving powerful individuals, including government officials and members of the ruling party.
Many, including Nasrudin's brother Andi Samsudin, have suggested that Antasari is the victim of a conspiracy against him.