Activists demand alternative to death row
Margareth S. Aritonang
The Jakarta Post
Slamming President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo's decision to proceed with the executions of six drug convicts recently, the country's human rights activists have joined hands to call on Jokowi to spare the lives of other death-row inmates set to face the firing squad this year.
Instead of putting convicts, who according to activists are mostly low-ranking criminals, to death, Jokowi's administration is being urged to implement fruitful measures to comprehensively combat narcotics-related crimes in the country, from practicing corrupt-free law enforcement to hunting down key people behind such crimes.
Besides the six recently executed, Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Tedjo Edhy Purdijatno previously revealed that 20 other death-row inmates were to be executed in 2015, the majority of whom were drug convicts.
'We hope the executions recently carried out will be the last in this country,' National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) chairman Hafid Abbas said on Monday.
'We all agree that we must eradicate narcotics-related crimes but imposing on the death penalty to fight such crimes is wrong,' he added.
Hafid argued the death penalty was not an effective measure to exterminate narcotics-related crimes in Indonesia due to the country's unreliable legal system.
Together with Komnas HAM, critics of the death penalty also voiced concerns over Indonesia's efforts to uphold human rights, including the right to life, universally promoted as a non-negotiable right that must not be limited for any reason.
While many countries had eliminated the death penalty, Indonesia, on the other hand, regretfully still used it, activists slammed.
'We must include the removal of death penalty in the amendment of the KUHP [Criminal Code], an inheritance of the draconian colonial era,' executive director of Jakarta-based human rights watchdog Imparsial said.
'In terms of the war on narcotics, the government must impartially enforce the law, including on officials who protect the 'big fish', while at the same time launch comprehensive preventive programs, particularly for young people,' she emphasized.
Other groups that shared similar concerns included, among others, the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), the Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (Elsam), Setara Institute, Human Rights Working Groups (HRWG) and Migrant Care.
Migrant Care, which has been promoting the rights of Indonesian workers abroad, highlighted concerns over the fate of around 267 Indonesians who were facing the death penalty abroad.
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