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Jakarta Post

Jokowi to ban clemency for drug convicts

  • Margareth S. Aritonang and Slamet Susanto

    The Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta/Jakarta   /   Wed, December 10, 2014   /  09:25 am

President Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo is upholding his plan to enforce the death penalty for drug convicts, citing the crime'€™s devastating impact on the country'€™s young generations.

During a public lecture at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta on Tuesday, Jokowi emphasized that the government would not be merciful in dealing with narcotics-related crime in the country.

He said that he would reject requests for clemency for 64 drug traffickers who are currently on death row.

'€œ[The clemency requests] are not on my table yet. But I guarantee that there will be no clemency for convicts who committed narcotics-related crimes,'€ Jokowi told his audience.

Jokowi explained that such a firm and harsh approach was necessary to combat the widespread use of narcotics.

'€œPeople can even control [drug] deals from prisons,'€ Jokowi said.

Jokowi said that there were currently 1.2 million narcotics users who were already in acute stages of addiction and could not be treated.

'€œThere are between 40 to 50 drug addicts, mostly young people, who lose their lives every day here.'€

He further defended the government'€™s decision to execute drug convicts, including five convicts that the government plans to put to death later this month.

The government'€™s firm action was announced by Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Tedjo Edhy Purdijatno after a meeting with the President.

Tedjo, however, has yet to reveal the identities or nationalities of the five people.

Tedjo announced that besides the five, there were 20 other death-row inmates set to face the firing squad in 2015, the majority of whom were drug convicts.

According to the National Narcotics Agency (BNN), 77 drug traffickers have been on death row since 2004, of whom nine have been executed.

Two were executed in 2013, including Nigerian drug smuggler Adam Wilson in March of that year and a Pakistani in November.

The BNN recorded that 47 of the traffickers were foreigners.

The government'€™s insistence on implementing the death penalty has drawn criticism from human rights defenders in the country.

The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), which earlier slammed the government'€™s plan to execute the five drug convicts, reiterated its stance of advocating for the abolishment of practicing the death penalty in the country.

'€œPak Jokowi'€™s announcement is so unexpected. Komnas HAM did not expect that the President would say this. The right to life is a non-negotiable right that must not be limited for any reason. Thus the death penalty violates the very basic right to life,'€ Komnas HAM commissioner Roichatul Aswidah said.

'€œIf not immediately abolishing the death penalty, the government should instead implement a moratorium on the death penalty while at the same time making efforts to improve the country'€™s legal system to make sure reliable processes take place during legal procedures,'€ she added.

In a separate interview, a human rights activist from Jakarta-based watchdog Imparsial, Poengky Indarti, concurred, lambasting the government'€™s defense of the death penalty for drug convicts.

Poengky suggested that Jokowi'€™s administration should instead take comprehensive measures to prevent the distribution of drugs, including strictly enforcing the law on officials involved in such crimes.

'€œThe government must make sure that dealers don'€™t have backup from officials,'€ she said, adding that all efforts to combat drug crime would be to no avail if the government failed to deal with the masterminds.

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