"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." - Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Indonesian Prison Guard in Meth Bust Loses His Shirt – and Little Else

Dedy Romadi stripped of his prison guard jacket during dismissal ceremony.
Dedy Romadi stripped of his prison guard jacket during dismissal ceremony.
Jakarta. An Indonesian prison guard caught allegedly trafficking 16 kilograms of crystal meth will be entitled to his full lifetime benefits as a civil servant following an “honorable” discharge.

Dedy Romadi, from Bandung’s Banceuy Penitentiary, was given a public dismissal at a ceremony at the Justice Ministry in Jakarta on Monday.

“With respect to [any infractions committed as] a member of staff, he’s clear,” Mualimin Abdi, the ministry’s director general of human rights, said at the dismissal ceremony.

“With respect to the law, he still has to answer to the police and the BNN [National Narcotics Agency],” he added.

Dedy was arrested in a BNN-led bust at a Central Jakarta mall on May 22 while allegedly carrying out a drug transaction. He eventually led officers to a stash of 16.3 kilograms of crystal meth and 778 ecstasy pills.

He faces a possible death sentence if convicted of trafficking, but the Justice Ministry, which oversees the country’s prisons, appeared to take the case – the latest involving a prison guard caught in the dealing or manufacture of narcotics – much less seriously.

Mualimin, who stripped Dedy of his prison guard jacket during the dismissal ceremony, said the symbolism sent a “strong message” about the ministry’s attitude to such offenses.

“I won’t tolerate anyone who abuses their authority. Such people must be heavily punished,” he said.

He did not explain the gaping discrepancy between Dedy’s “abuse of authority” and the lack of infractions cited in the guard’s dismissal.

The “honorable” discharge effectively means that Dedy will continue to receive the benefits to which a civil servant is entitled, including a pension and lifetime health insurance – even if he goes to jail for drug smuggling.

For his part, Dedy claims he was not dealing drugs but rather was collecting evidence seized from inmates.

The bust came just over a week since the arrest of a guard from the prison island of Nusakambangan off Central Java, the site of 13 of the 14 executions carried out so far this year – all involving drug convicts.

In that arrest, officers caught Bayu Anggit Permana, a guard from the island’s Batu Penitentiary, with 364 grams of meth. A prisoner at the island, one of several on Nusakambangan, later admitted to paying Bayu to smuggle the drugs out of the prison.

Police have charge Bayu and Abdul with drug dealing – not trafficking – which carries a sentence of 12 to 20 years.

Drug seizures are common at prisons on Nusakambangan, where officials have a history of being complicit in allowing prisoners to set up meth labs.

The island was also the location for the executions on April 29 of eight convicted drug offenders, seven of them foreign nationals, including Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

In going against international condemnation of the executions, President Joko Widodo claimed Indonesia was in the grip of a “drug emergency” – based on a study whose methodology has long been debunked by experts – and that the death sentence served as a deterrent against would-be drug offenders.

The arrests of Bayu and now Dedy – and countless other offenders in between – would seem to suggest otherwise.

Source: The Jakarta Globe, June 2, 2015

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