Ray Jordan, Jakarta – Riots broke out at the Polewali Mandar Class IIB Prison in Polewali Mandar regency, West Sulawesi, on Saturday June 22 over of a requirement that inmates seeking parole must be able to read the Koran.
The Justice and Human Rights Ministry has removed Polewali Mandar prison warden Haryoto over the affair.
“Yes the person’s already been withdrawn to the kanwil [regional office]. His intentions were good yes, but enacting this requirement exceeded the law. If they can’t khatam-khatam [to have finished or completed studying or reading the Koran] despite [being eligible for parole] according to the law he can’t do that right”, Justice and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly told journalists at the Presidential Complex in Central Jakarta on Monday June 24.
Laoly said that although the warden’s intentions were good, he is not allowed to apply the condition as a regulation. Currently the warden has been removed from his post.
“His intentions were good, but you’re not allowed to compel [prisoners] in that way. In the end it created a problem. The person concerned has been removed”, he said.
The minister will soon hold a meeting to direct officials at correctional institutions so that they follow standard operating procedures (SOP). Prison officials will be asked not to be excessive and obey the law.
“That teaching people to obey religion, be religious, complete reading the Koran and other [texts] or reading the Bible to the end for example or other holy verses, that’s good, it’s defiantly good. But setting that as a requirement to leave prison, that’s not allowed, he exceeded his authority”, said Laoly. (tor/fjp)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “LP Polewali Mandar Rusuh karena Syarat Baca Alquran, Kalapas Ditarik”.]