Antara, Jakarta – Twelve terror convicts have been transferred from the Nusakambangan prison island in Central Java to a deradicalization center in Bogor, West Java, under a reintegration program, an official said on Tuesday.
"The transfer is part of our efforts to give terror convicts a chance to obtain knowledge and learn new job skills," Maj. Gen. Hendri Paruhuman Lubis, deputy head of the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT), was quoted as saying by state-run news agency Antara.
"After the transfer, the terror convicts will hopefully transform themselves into moderate individuals and reintegrate into society," he added.
The 12 inmates were declared eligible for the program after a careful selection process conducted by a team comprising BNPT officials, the National Police's elite counterterrorism squad Detachment 88, and psychologists of the University of Indonesia.
"We hope the transfer will make them better persons and that they can one day rejoin society to live normal lives," Hendri said.
He said the inmates would attend classes, just like students at formal education institutions, during their stay at the center.
"On Monday, they already attended the nationalism class, followed by religious teachings on Tuesday. On Wednesday, they will learn about entrepreneurship," he said.
Hamdi Muluk, a psychology professor from the University of Indonesia, will present a counseling program at the center on Friday.
"So time will pass quickly for them. They will not realize that one or two years may pass until they earn their freedom and return to society," Hendri said.
The center also will also start offering agricultural, automotive and handicraft skills training, among others, later this month, he said. "We give also allow them to meet with their families," he added.
According to the BNPT, there are currently more than 280 terror convicts in 113 prisons across the country.
Prison security and the handling of terror convicts became a major issue after a group of inmates managed to take control of a police detention facility in Depok, West Java, in May last year. Five police officers taken hostage were killed in the 36-hour standoff.
The riot ended after tense negotiations. Most of the inmates, many of them facing further murder trials, were transferred to Nusakambangan Island.