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Jakarta Post

Drug convict executions spark international protests

  • Fedina S. Sundaryani, Ina Parlina and Hans Nicholas Jong

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, January 17, 2015   /  11:04 am

The determination of President Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo to turn down the appeals for clemency from six death-row drug convicts and his decision that they should face the firing squad on Sunday has sparked international outcry.

The high representative of the EU for foreign affairs and security policy, and vice president of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, said she deplored the executions because the EU opposed capital punishment in all cases.

'€œThe announced executions of the six death-row inmates, including a Dutch citizen, for drug offenses is deeply regrettable. This would be the second round of executions since November 2013,'€ she said in a statement issued in Brussels, Belgium on Thursday.

Federica said that the death penalty was cruel and inhumane. Furthermore, she called on the Indonesian government to stop the executions and consider establishing a moratorium on the use of the death penalty as a first step toward its abolishment.

The EU was not the only international organization to call Indonesia out. The UN Human Rights (UNHR) Committee also lambasted President Jokowi'€™s decision to proceed with the executions.

UNHR Committee member and special rapporteur for Indonesia, Cornelis Flinterman, said that the government should abolish the barbaric practice.

'€œCrimes involving narcotics cannot be considered the most serious crime on which the death penalty can be used as a legitimate penalty,'€ he said during a press conference in Kuningan, South Jakarta, on Friday.

Rights group Amnesty International also condemned Jokowi'€™s decision on Thursday. National civil society organizations have similarly criticized the President.

On Thursday, Attorney General M. Prasetyo announced that five drug convicts '€” four men and one woman '€” would face firing squads on Nusakambangan Island, Central Java, while another female drug convict would be executed in Boyolali, also in Central Java.

Prasetyo said that the executions were a demonstration of the government'€™s determination to crack down on drugs.  

Attorney General'€™s Office (AGO) spokesman Tony Spontana told The Jakarta Post on Friday that the convicts on Nusakambangan would face five separate firing squads at exactly the same time at midnight on Sunday in order for the executions to be humane.

'€œThey'€™re being executed at the exact same time for psychological reasons. After several practice runs, we discovered that the shots could be heard by the convicts since the execution area was close to their prison. It would be traumatizing for them,'€ he said.

He also said that their final requests were simple; Dutchman Ang Kiem Soei and Vietnamese convict Tran Thi Bich Hanh had asked for their bodies to be cremated, while Indonesian woman Rani asked to be buried beside her mother in Cianjur, West Java.

Meanwhile, Malawian Namaoana Denis, Nigerian Daniel Enemuo and Brazilian Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira had not yet decided on their final requests.

'€œThey had previously asked for their bodies to be sent back to their home countries but we told them and their embassies that the AGO could only be responsible for putting their bodies in coffins and transporting them to the nearest international airport. Their embassies would be responsible for sending them back home,'€ he said.

Separately, National Police chief Sr. Comr. Rikwanto said that the convicts would be taken blindfolded to their places of execution, which would be close to the prison.

Then they would be asked if they would prefer to sit, stand or lie down for the execution.

'€œTwelve police personnel '€” including a doctor '€” will be lined up 10 meters away from the convict, where they will shoot from all at exactly the same time,'€ he said, although he refused to disclose how many times the convicts would be shot and how many bullets would be used for the executions.

'€œOnce the convicts have been executed, the assigned doctor will immediately approach the body to check if the convict has died, which they would announce aloud, specifying the official time of death,'€ said Rikwanto.