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Jakarta Post

Execution goes on as govt tries to save Wilfrida from death penalty

  • Yuliasri Perdani

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, November 19, 2013   /  09:57 am

Activists have lambasted the government'€™s decision to execute Pakistani drug smuggler, Muhammad Abdul Hafeez, despite at the same time struggling to save Wilfrida Soik, an Indonesian domestic helper in Malaysia, from a death sentence.

Bahrain, an employee with the Foundation of the Indonesian Legal Aid Institute (YLBHI), said on Monday that Abdul'€™s execution reflected the government'€™s incoherent stance on the death penalty.

'€œIndonesia is advocating for Wilfrida to be spared from the death penalty. On the other hand, Indonesia has executed a foreign national,'€ he told a press conference in Jakarta.

Wilfrida is accused of murdering her employer, Yeap Seok Pen, 60, in 2010. The government, lawmakers and activists have launched an all-out legal battle to save the 20-year-old East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) native.

While Wilfrida appeared at a trial hearing at the Kota Bharu High Court in Kelantan, Malaysia, on Sunday, Abdul faced a firing squad in South Tangerang, Banten.

Abdul was arrested for attempting to smuggle 1.05 kilograms of heroin at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang on June 26, 2001.

In November 2001, the Tangerang District Court handed down a death sentence to Abdul, a verdict that was later upheld by the Bandung High Court in 2002 and the Supreme Court in 2005 and 2009.

A petition for clemency was rejected in July 2004 by then-president Megawati Soekarnoputri.

Abdul is the fifth convict on death row to have been shot by firing squad this year. The Attorney General'€™s Office (AGO) oversaw the execution of Nigerian drug trafficker Adam Wilson in March, followed by the execution of three convicted murderers '€” Suryadi, Jurit and Ibrahim '€” in May.

Data from the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) shows that as of December 2012, Indonesia had 113 prisoners on death row, 42 of whom were foreigners.

The AGO previously stated that it aimed to execute 10 convicts this year.

Bahrain said that Indonesia'€™s decision to maintain capital punishment would not only weaken its attempt to save Wilfrida but also hundreds of other Indonesian migrant workers on death row.

Migrant Care data shows that as of October, 265 Indonesian migrant workers were awaiting execution in China, Iran, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia.

Separately, Kontras coordinator Haris Azhar said Abdul'€™s execution was aimed at creating a public image that the government was cracking down on criminals, in particular drug smugglers.

'€œThe government wants to show that it is upholding the law. These executions, however, are merely hypocritical legal decisions. [The government] tends to hand down the death penalty to convicts from developing countries or countries that have very little political impact on Indonesia,'€ he said.

Kontras data shows that of the 42 foreigners on death row, 11 are Nigerian.

Indonesia maintains the death penalty amid global calls to abolish capital punishment.

Amnesty International states that two-thirds of the countries in the world have abolished the punishment in law or practice.

Ninety-seven countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes, while eight countries allow the death penalty only for exceptional crimes, such as crimes under military law.

Thirty-five countries still retain the death penalty but have not executed anyone in the past 10 years, while Indonesia, China and 56 other countries retain and implement capital punishment.