Judge knocks 6 years off corruption convict’s 10-year sentence because she’s a woman

Pinangki Sirna Malasari. Photo: Istimewa
Pinangki Sirna Malasari. Photo: Istimewa

Indonesia has set a precedent for reducing punishment on the basis of gender with the Jakarta High Court knocking six years off a disgraced public attorney’s 10-year sentence for corruption.

Prosecutor Pinangki Sirna Malasari was sentenced to 10 years in prison in February after she was found guilty of accepting a US$500,000 bribe from former corruption fugitive Djoko Tjandra. The sentence was heavier than the four years demanded by fellow prosecutors, with the judge in the case arguing that her actions tarnished the reputation of public attorneys. Pinangki spent her money on a BMW X5 and cosmetic surgery in the US.

But the prosecutors got their wish after all, with the Jakarta High Court reducing Pinangki’s sentence to four years following an appeal.

“The appellate court feels that the sentence handed to the convict was too heavy,” the ruling on the appeal reads, as published on the Supreme Court’s website.

Among the court’s considerations were that Pinangki is the mother of a four-year-old child, and that she deserves a chance at raising her child. Another consideration reads:

“The convict, as a woman, must receive attention, protection, and be treated fairly.”

Pinangki’s sentence reduction, especially as the result of the latter consideration, drew outrage across the nation, chiefly from the corruption watchdog Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW).

“Pinangki should have been given a heavier punishment (20 years or life), not have her sentence reduced from 10 years to four … Pinangki’s appeal ruling defies logical sense,” ICW researcher Kurnia Ramadhana wrote in a statement today.

“Corruptors should thank the Supreme Court over decisions like this.”

ICW said Pinangki’s sentence reduction should drive the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to investigate the judicial system, which often hands down lenient punishments in corruption cases.

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