Indonesia To Investigate Officials, Guards Over Massive Prison Break

May 8, 2017
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Indonesia Minister of Legal and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly on Monday ordered a probe of officials overseeing a Sumatra’s Riau province prison where inmates massively broke out due to alleged illicit practices, including extortions.

Laoly said his office has repeatedly warned against prison guards to stop extortion practices in prison.

He told newsmen during inspection to the Sialang Bungkuk prison in the province’s capital that saw 448 of its inmates recently escaped.

“Now those who committed extortions must receive criminal charges.

“Police must investigate them,’’ the minister said.

Head of the prison was dismissed on Saturday following the riot in the prison that led to the massive escape of inmates after they broke out through the prison’s main gate on Friday.

Head of the ministry’s provincial office Ferdinan Siagian said thorough investigation into the extortion allegation would be conducted to prevent similar event reoccur in the future.

As of Monday provincial police chief said the authorities have recaptured 296 of the escaped inmates.

However, further pursuit against the remaining 152 inmates is still underway.

Besides alleged rampant extortion conducted by prison guards against the inmates and their families, Pekanbaru Major Edwar Sanger said prison overcrowding was also a catalyst of the incident.

“The prison capacity was actually for 400 inmates, but now it is inhabited by over 1,800 inmates,” he said, adding that the other factor was the troubled clean water supply for the inmates.

Families of inmates imprisoned in the Sialang Bungkuk prison said discrimination, extortion and other illicit practices rampantly persisted in the prison.

Yusti, whose son was imprisoned in the prison, had to pay 7 million rupiah (about 525 dollars) to the prison guards to have his son moved to a cell in the second floor for corruption case inmates where he belongs to.

Another parent had to pay a sum of money to extend his visiting time to see his son in the prison.

The guards have special bell code to notify the other guards that he already paid the money for the visit extension time.

“We already had enough with all of these extortions, but we cannot do anything but to pay them because our sons are inside.

“Now everything must be revealed,’’ the 65 year-old Yusti said as quoted by a local media on Saturday.

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