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Jakarta Post

RI hopes int'€™l community respect death-row decisions

  • Margareth S. Aritonang

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, February 16, 2015   /  06:19 am
RI hopes int'€™l community respect death-row decisions

Time running out: Accompanied by Australian consul Majell Hind (left), Helen Chan visits her son Andrew, one of the two Australian drug convicts on death row at the Kerobokan Penitentiary, Denpasar, Bali, on Sunday. The government says Chan and Myuran Sukumaran will be executed despite international appeals for clemency. Antara/Nyoman Budhiana

The Indonesian government has requested the international community, including the United Nations, to respect the country'€™s sovereignty in upholding Indonesia'€™s laws through its firm decision to execute drug convicts, whose crimes have caused serious damage to the country.

Following a call from the UN to drop the plan to execute drug traffickers later this month, President Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo insisted that he would not submit to pressure from any parties, including the UN, and thus would be firm in rejecting clemency for narcotics-related convicts who were on death row.

'€œThe 64 death-row inmates have appealed for clemency, and I guarantee that I will reject them all. I will never [grant clemency],'€ Jokowi stressed during a national meeting of the Hanura Party, one of the political parties within the ruling Great Indonesia Coalition, over the weekend.

The reason his administration would unconditionally impose the death penalty on inmates who committed such crimes, Jokowi said, was that '€œwe will be doomed if narcotics-related criminals are granted clemency'€.

In order to highlight the crisis caused in the country by such crimes, President Jokowi and his officials have repeatedly explained that narcotics claim the lives of 50 Indonesians every day, an estimated 18,000 annually.

Additionally, around 1.2 million addicts cannot be rehabilitated, according to the government.

Jokowi'€™s administration has frequently used the crisis that Indonesia is facing in order to defend the execution of six drug traffickers from Malawi, Brazil, Nigeria, Vietnam, the Netherlands as well as from Indonesia last month; and the planned execution of 11 inmates, including two Australian convicts '€” Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran '€” whose cases have led to international pressure on the Indonesian government.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has warned that such an insistence by the Indonesian government might impact on the latter'€™s tourist industry as Australians may boycott Indonesia as a tourist destination should Jakarta refuse to halt the planned execution of its two citizens.

Joining worldwide calls for the Indonesian government to drop the planned executions, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appealed to the country not to go ahead with the plan.

UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric recently revealed that Ban spoke with Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi last Thursday '€œto express his concern at the recent application of capital punishment in Indonesia'€.

As quoted by Reuters, Dujarric said in a statement that '€œThe United Nations opposes the death penalty under all circumstances'€ and that '€œThe Secretary-General appeals to the Indonesian authorities that the executions of the remaining prisoners on death row for drug-related offenses not be carried out'€.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir confirmed that Retno had discussed the matter with Ban and reiterated Jokowi'€™s remarks that it would not change the government'€™s position.

Indonesia would go ahead with the execution plan this month because it aimed to impose Indonesian law on crimes committed within Indonesia'€™s territory, Arrmanatha told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.

'€œThe death penalty is still an ongoing issue of discussion in the international community. There has yet to be an agreement between all countries to end the implementation of the death penalty as many countries, including developed ones, still implement it,'€ he said.

Referring to Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which details the strict conditions required of countries that have yet to abolish the death penalty in order to impose the sentence, Arrmanatha cited the '€œserious crime'€ condition in support of Indonesia'€™s stance, saying that '€œdrug trafficking and distribution is a serious crime for Indonesia'€.

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