- The Washington Times - Friday, January 15, 2010

INDONESIA

Luxury jail cells enrage public

JAKARTA | It’s a bedroom most poor Indonesians can only dream about - air conditioned with a spacious double bed, flat-screen television, private bathroom, adjoining karaoke suite and serviced by maids and assistants.

But this bedroom is the prison cell of a woman serving a five-year sentence for bribing an Indonesian prosecutor.

News that business tycoon Artalyta Suryani had bought comfort behind bars using the same tactics for which she was punished has enraged ordinary Indonesians and embarrassed authorities in a country already known as one of the world’s most corrupt.

The details of Suryani’s luxury living conditions and that of other rich prisoners have been splashed across the front pages of national newspapers and dominated television coverage this week, the result of a surprise visit to Jakarta Pondok Bambu women’s penitentiary by a team set up by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to eradicate the so-called “Judicial Mafia.”

“We found a number of wealthy inmates had been provided with exclusive facilities,” team member Denny Indrayana said Wednesday.

PAKISTAN

Bodies recovered from 2005 quake

MUZAFFARABAD | Rescue workers recovered 16 bodies Thursday, more than four years after a devastating earthquake buried them under tons of rubble in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, police said.

“We have recovered 16 dead bodies from the rubble. These people were trapped by the earthquake while traveling in a passenger coach,” senior police official Sardar Ilyas, told Agence France-Presse from the state capital, Muzaffarabad.

The coach was buried in the mountainous Kaamsar village, police said.

Although the bodies were beyond recognition police said some of the victims could be identified by their national ID cards.

The Oct. 8, 2005, quake killed more than 73,000 people and left about 3.5 million homeless.

MALAYSIA

Lawyers’ offices hit in ‘Allah’ row

KUALA LUMPUR | Malaysia’s Catholic Church said Thursday its lawyers’ offices had been burglarized and ransacked in the latest of a spate of attacks triggered by a row over the use of the word “Allah.”

Police said a church in southern Johor state was also attacked, bringing to 10 the number of churches fire-bombed or vandalized in the past week.

Trouble broke out after the high court decided on Dec. 31 to lift a government ban on non-Muslims using “Allah” as a translation for “God.”

Church lawyer Derek Fernandez said a laptop was stolen in the attack on his firm’s offices in southwest Kuala Lumpur, and he was checking whether any documents had been taken.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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