A court in Indonesia has sentenced a woman to 18 months in prison after she was found guilty of confining her three adopted children. Rika Mona Pandegirot, the presiding judge of the case at the Makassar District Court in South Sulawesi, said the defendant, Meilania Ritali Dasilva, had violated the 2002 Law on Child Protection, The Jakarta Post reported.
The judge said on Monday that Dasilva was guilty of negligence and child abuse. Pandegirot ordered the defendant to pay a fine of 50 million rupiah (US$3,500) or spend two more months in jail.
State prosecutors had demanded two years of imprisonment for the defendant but the court handed down a lighter sentence.
Dasilva, who represented herself without a lawyer, asked for time to consider appealing the verdict. State prosecutor Rustiani stated that an appeal for stricter punishment would be made.
Last September, Dasilva was found to have locked up the three children in her care – the youngest being only three – for years. The children were able to break free from the house after they pried open a padlock with an iron bar.
The case was widely covered by the media in Indonesia. According to the Makassar Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection Agency, the children were brutally abused and are suffering from psychological problems as a result.