Disgraced former Bali vice governor released from prison after serving shortened corruption sentence

I Ketut Sudikerta. Photo via Facebook
I Ketut Sudikerta. Photo via Facebook

Former Bali Vice Governor I Ketut Sudikerta was released from prison yesterday after having served four years behind bars for corruption. 

Sudikerta reportedly received sentence remissions that allowed for his early release, including one universally granted to inmates as a measure against COVID-19.

“Sudikerta always behaved nicely, helping other people [while] in prison, participating in blood donations, as well as becoming a role model for other inmates. Because of all that, Sudikerta deserves to breathe fresh air as of Tuesday,” said Suparto, the head of the Correctional Division of the Bali Law and Human Rights Agency.

Sudikerta’s attorney Warsa T Bhuwana confirmed that his client was released on Tuesday around 1:30pm from Kerobokan Prison. His family reportedly took Sudikerta home before he later went to Mertasari Beach in Sanur to perform melukat (purification ritual) in the evening.

Sudikerta was originally scheduled to be released in July. However, his sentence was cut by four months as authorities handed sentence remissions to Indonesian inmates in order to keep prisons from overcrowding and becoming hotbeds for COVID-19 transmission.

The 54-year-old former politician also received other sentence remissions generally given to inmates, including one for Independence Day last year.

In 2019, Sudikarta was sentenced to 12 years in prison by the Denpasar District Court after having been found guilty of fraud and laundering IDR149 billion (US$10.3 million). 

He successfully appealed to the Denpasar High Court in March 2020 and his prison time was cut by half to six years.

Sudikerta then appealed to the Supreme Court in an attempt to be acquitted, but the court upheld his six-year sentence in August 2020. Prosecutors who sought a heavier sentence for Sudikerta were also dismissed by the Supreme Court. 

His release on Tuesday means that, in total, Sudikerta served around four years behind bars including time served in detention during his trial.

In recent years, Indonesia has been granting sentence remissions to an increasing number of graft convicts receiving sentence remissions. Last year, 214 graft convicts received remissions during Independence Day on Aug. 17. 

Last year, the Supreme Court revoked a government regulation that tightened remission regulations for drug convicts, graft convicts, and convicted terrorists. 

Per the now-deleted rule, graft convicts were required to pay off their fines and compensation fees on top of agreeing to become justice collaborators if they wanted to be eligible for sentence remission.

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