[Indonesia] Lighter sentence for convicted killer a ‘step back’ for press freedom

Media group laments President Jokowi’s grant of remission, calls for its revocation

In a surprise move, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo granted remission to the convicted mastermind in the murder of Anak Agung Bagus Narendra Prabangsa, a journalist with a newspaper, Radar Bali, on 11 February 2009.

The Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (Alliance of Independent Journalists, AJI) chapter in Denpasar (capital city of the Indonesian province of Bali) has denounced the president’s decision. AJI Denpasar chairperson Nandhang R. Astika described it as a “step back” in press freedom.

Jokowi reduced the sentence of I Nyoman Susrama – a former legislative council member and one of the nine defendants – from life to 20 years, according to news reports.

“Jokowi granted 115 murder convicts remission through Presidential Decree No. 29/2018, signed Dec. 7, 2018,” reported Jakarta Post.

Prabangsa was killed following his exposé of local corruption in Bangli, Bali. Susrama is the brother of I Nenga Arnawa, then a regent in Bangli.

The case was considered a “milestone” in successfully prosecuting media killings in Indonesia.

AJI Denpasar has urged Jokowi for the remission to be “revoked or annulled,” based on its 22 January 2019 statement.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has recorded 10 journalist killings in Indonesia from 1992 to 2019.

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