Surabaya. Marwan Effendy, the assistant attorney general for supervision, has asked all judges in Indonesia not to hesitate in applying a diversionary approach for drug addicts not involved in drug dealing. 

Marwan said the diversionary tactic for drug addicts could come in the form of sentencing them to undergo rehabilitation rather than sending them to prison, as in the case of TV personality Raffi Ahmad. The National Narcotics Agency (BNN) found two marijuana joints and 14 pills that tested positive for methylone — a synthetic drug with effects similar to ecstasy — at the home of Raffi, an actor and television host.

The BNN arrested 17 people at his home, including former actress-turned-Jakarta city councilor for the National Mandate Party (PAN) Wanda Hamidah and celebrity couple Zaskia Sungkar and Irwansyah.

Data from the Justice and Human Rights Ministry’s Directorate General of Corrections showed that the number of inmates in Indonesia as of Aug. 21, 2011, was 147,000, 35 percent of whom were jailed for drug offenses.

Penitentiaries in Indonesia could only accommodate up to 100,000 inmates.

“The data showed that putting drug addicts who aren’t drug dealers or producers behind bars failed to solve the problem. That’s why [we] need to think about other instruments in upholding the law in Indonesia,” Marwan said.

In several countries such as Britain, Australia and Portugal, the diversionary approach had proven effective in curbing the number of drug users by treating them as victims of illegal drugs rather than active perpetrators of the illegal trade.

“They are considered as mentally and psychologically ill, a factor that dragged them into [using] drugs.

“So, what they need is rehabilitation and not to be put behind bars,

” Marwan argued. Marwan lamented that only a small number of judges in Indonesia understood the diversionary approach. Judges preferred to apply Law No. 35/2009 which classifies drug offenders as the criminals, he added.

“Not all judges in Indonesia understand about the [importance] of health recovery for drug addicts.

“They prefer to take the safe option by sentencing them to jail instead of ordering a rehabilitation.

“I can guarantee that there will be no problem at the supervision unit if a judge sentenced a drug addict, not a drug dealer, to rehabilitation,” Marwan assured.

Suwidya, deputy chairman of the Surabaya District Court, said that he has never seen anyone sentencing a drug addict to rehabilitation throughout his career as a judge.

“It will become a public debate if a judge decided on rehabilitation when the prosecutor recommended a jail sentence,” Suwidya said.



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