President SBY rules out
clemency for drug dealers

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono reiterated here Friday he would not grant clemency to those sentenced to death for drug trafficking, saying those involved in the narcotics trade did not deserve leniency.

""A lot of requests for clemency in drug-related crimes have been submitted to me. But I personally feel that I would prefer to ensure the safety of our younger generations rather than granting pardons to those who are destroying our nation's future,"" he said.

The President was speaking at a ceremony to mark the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which fell on June 26.

Because of its strategic location, Indonesia has become a meeting point for international drug rings, as well as a base of production.

The Attorney General's Office said Wednesday it was preparing to execute 16 people who were sentenced to death for drug trafficking.

The 16 include seven Nigerians, six Indonesians and three foreign nationals from Nepal, Malawi and Thailand. Another 27 people on death row for drug-related offenses are still in the process of appealing their verdicts.

Three foreign drug traffickers -- two Thais and an Indian -- were executed in 2004.

Yudhoyono also called on parents to spend more time with their children, to help protect them from falling victim to the drug trade.

Touching on the theme of this year's anti-drugs day, Drugs Are Not Child's Play, the President said it was important to educate people, particularly the young, about the dangers of drugs.

""Children are easily lured and fooled because they still don't know what is right and what is wrong. Parents must spend more time, particularly quality time, with their children to prevent them from falling into the drug trap,"" the President said.

Yudhoyono said not only families, but the entire community had to play a role in guiding children away from drugs.

""This way parents can always know what their children are doing ... Children have to be protected from harm,"" he said.

Yudhoyono said families affected by drug use should not be ashamed, but instead deal with the problem in an open and honest fashion so that treatment would be successful.

National Narcotics Agency head Insp. Gen. Made Pastika has said a study conducted in 10 major cities found four million Indonesians had used illegal drugs, while the country's drug trade was valued at nearly US$4 billion a year.

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