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15 People Convicted of Drugs Offenses in Indonesia Prepare Themselves for Execution

  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    Indonesia is quietly preparing to execute 15 death row inmates, including 10 foreigners jailed for drug crimes, according to local media accounts, lawyers and activists. The group reportedly includes Chinese and Pakistani nationals, and inmates from three African countries: Nigeria, Senegal, and Zimbabwe.

    Last year, the government of President Joko Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, executed 12 foreign citizens and two Indonesians for drug crimes, sparking international outcry and leading several countries to withdraw their ambassadors from Jakarta. The state has executed no people since then, but media reports in recent weeks suggest that officials are once again preparing firing squads on the penal island of Nusakambangan.

    On Sunday, the government confirmed that three Indonesian drug offenders had been transferred to the prison there. At the end of April, a Pakistani national, Zulfiqar Ali, was also sent to the island. Unlike last year's rash of executions, none of those who appear in line to have their sentences carried out are from Western countries.

    "I think they learned from the previous experience, when they named the people to be executed earlier and some of those prisoners were from European countries or Australian citizens, so their government made a lot of noise," said Papang Hidayat, Indonesia researcher at Amnesty International. "They are learning from their mistakes and trying to limit the period of notification."

    Indonesian authorities have to give at least 72 hours' notification to prisoners that they will be executed, suggesting the latest group of drug offenders won't go before a firing squad until next week at the earliest.

    Ricky Gunawan, director of the Jakarta-based Community Legal Aid Institute, has represented foreign nationals in capital cases since 2008. One of his current clients is a Nigerian who ended up on death row after a drug-related conviction.

    "He may be listed for execution in this first round, but I'm not sure, " said Gunawan, who noted that the Attorney General's Office had shared little information with him. "We don't know exactly who will be executed, or when it will take place."

    Gunawan also represented Rodrigo Gularte, a schizophrenic Brazilian man who was arrested in 2004 after authorities found six kilograms of cocaine in a surfboard he brought to Indonesia. Gularte suffered from paranoid episodes, was delusional, and hallucinated, but never received proper treatment after his arrest. Last year, despite high-level appeals from Brazil, Gularte was executed on Nusakambangan along with two Australians and five others.

    Indonesia's use of the death penalty for drug crimes is routinely criticized by the United Nations and human rights groups. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said that international law limits the use of the death penalty exclusively to the "crime of intentional killing," and must not be employed as punishment for crimes that fall short of that.

    In April, at a UN General Assembly special summit on drug policy, Indonesia was jeered by some diplomats when it launched a specific intervention on the floor defending its right to use the death penalty for drug crimes. In Southeast Asia, Indonesia is not alone in employing draconian drug laws, though its routine execution of foreigners does set it apart. As recently as 2012, the regional political and economic bloc ASEAN reaffirmed a goal of a "drug free ASEAN" by 2015.

    In Indonesia, authorities have cut back on the "drug free" slogan, and have instead begun referring to a "drug emergency situation" that requires a government crackdown and the execution of narcotics offenders. In April, during a trip to Germany, Jokowi defended capital punishment, citing the dozens of Indonesians he said died every day from addiction.

    "We are currently at a level of emergency in the fight against drugs," said Jokowi. "We carry out the legal process on death sentences carefully and we also ensure all the rights of the convict."

    Rights groups counter that there is no evidence that the death penalty acts as a deterrent to dealers, traffickers, or users.

    According to Amnesty International, legal proceedings in Indonesia are anything but fair, and defendants often go long periods with no legal counsel at all. Researchers have documented cases of torture to extract confessions. Due to language barriers, foreigners like Zulfiqar may not be able to communicate with their interrogators.

    Gunawan said that defense attorneys tend to avoid drug cases entirely because of their heavy stigma in Indonesia.

    "They don't want to be associated with drug dealers and drug traffickers," he said. "The majority of death row prisoners never have any competent legal representation from the beginning, and have no one to properly defend their case."

    One American, Frank Amado, sits on death row in Indonesia after he was arrested in 2009 for carrying a pound of crystal meth. Unlike other governments that have intervened in the cases of their citizens, including those in Australia, Brazil, and the Philippines, the US government hasn't called for Amado's sentence to be commuted.

    In 2011, a press attache at the US Embassy in Jakarta told the Tampa Bay Times, "according to local statutes the crime is punishable by death, and, unfortunately, we see nothing irregular in the case."

    By Samuel Oakford - Vice/May 13, 2016
    Newshawk Crew

    Author Bio

    BT2H is a retired news editor and writer from the NYC area who, for health reasons, retired to a southern US state early, and where BT2H continues to write and to post drug-related news to DF.


  1. Calliope
    Re: 15 People Convicted of Drugs Offenses in Indonesia Prepare Themselves for Executi

    And Indonesia doubles down on their already obscenely human rights violating approach to the war on some people who use some drugs:

    Indonesia to ramp up number of executions – including foreigners killed by firing squads – in war on drugs

    [IMGR="white"]https://drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=51100&stc=1&d=1468233469[/IMGR]Indonesia is to increase the number of prisoners executed by firing squad in its war on drugs.

    The country's attorney general Muhammad Prasetyo has said at least two convicts will be lined up and shot soon for their crimes.

    Among those facing the death penalty are foreigners, he said, but he did not elaborate upon the crimes of which they are convicted.

    Prasetyo said: 'The implementation of the executions will be carried out after the (Eid al-Fitr) holiday period that has just ended.

    'There are more than two people, and there are foreigners. There are protests but we will still carry out the executions.'

    Indonesia last year executed 14 people, mostly foreign drug traffickers, and has vowed to ramp up that number despite international condemnation.

    Prasetyo previously said 16 prisoners would be executed this year at a minimum and more than double that number next year.

    At least 121 people are on death row in Indonesia, including 35 foreigners, mostly convicted of drug-related crimes, according to the Justice Ministry.

    They include Mary Jane Veloso from the Philippines, Lindsay Sandiford from Britain and Frenchman Serge Atlaoui.

    British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford from Redcar on Teesside, has been on death row since December 2012 after attempting to smuggle cocaine into Bali after arriving on a flight from Bangkok.

    The 59-year-old admitted smuggling 4.8kg (10.6lb) of the drug but said she was pressured by a smuggling gang. However, Miss Sandiford sounded philosophical when she was interviewed by the Mail on Sunday last year.

    She said: I'm nearly 60 and a lot of people don't live to be this age. Being lined up and shot isn't the ending I'd pick, but everyone has to go somehow.'

    Indonesia executed 14 people, including 12 foreigners, in total last year and it has been suggested a further 10 people will be executed this year.

    Firing squads are made up of 12 paramilitary police, three of whose rifles are loaded with live ammunition, while the other nine rifles contain blanks.

    This is to avoid members of the firing squad being unaware of who among them had actually been responsible for death.

    Images: Sygma via Getty Images
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