Page last updated at 11:58 GMT, Thursday, 4 August 2005 12:58 UK

'Honest' Aceh prisoners rewarded

Worker building temporary barracks
Aceh is still rebuilding after the devastating tsunami

Hundreds of prisoners in Aceh who chose not to escape from their jails during the tsunami are to have their sentences halved, a minister said on Thursday.

About 300 people will have their prison terms cut because "they are deemed to have high integrity," said Justice and Human Rights Minister Hamid Awaluddin.

"They actually could escape, and we do not have data on them," he said.

"But they reported themselves and helped provide humanitarian assistance voluntarily."

The Indonesian province of Aceh was the area worst hit by the massive earthquake and tsunami on 26 December last year.

More than 130,000 people perished in Aceh alone, including many prisoners who were trapped inside their cells.

Many jails - along with thousands of other buildings - were destroyed in the disaster.

The remissions will be granted to mark Indonesia's independence anniversary on 17 August, Mr Awaluddin said.

The government traditionally marks independence day by cutting some prisoners' sentences, but usually only by a few months.

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