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Jakarta Post

Death for graft convicts? Possible if public wants it: Jokowi

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, December 10, 2019   /   06:48 am
Death for graft convicts? Possible if public wants it: Jokowi President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo (JP/Wienda Parwitasari)

The death penalty could be handed down for graft convicts should the people will it so, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said on Monday.

Jokowi was commemorating International Anticorruption Day, which falls on Dec. 9, by attending a performance at the SMK 57 public vocational school in Pasar Minggu, South Jakarta, on Monday morning.

After the performance, an SMK 57 student named Harley Hermansyah asked the President about capital punishment for perpetrators of graft. 

“Why is our country not very strict in handling corrupt [officials]? Why don’t we dare to give them the death penalty like in advanced nations?” Harley asked, as quoted by kompas.com.

The President explained to the student that the existing law did not stipulate the death sentence for graft suspects, except for those committing corruption in connection with national disaster mitigation.

Article 2 Paragraph 1 of the 2001 Corruption Law stipulates that corruption and self-enrichment offenses that cause state losses constitute crimes that are punishable by death if they occur during a national disasters.

After the event, journalists asked the President whether he had ever considered revising the law to include the death penalty for graft perpetrators.

“If it's the people's will to include [capital punishment] in the Criminal Code [or] Corruption Law, it can be put in,” Jokowi replied, adding that it was possible for the government to initiate a revision of the 2001 law “if the people want it”.

Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly, who also attended the event, later confirmed that the death penalty could already be used against graft convicts in certain situations. 

“It can be used for people who commit graft [in relation to] natural disasters,” he said, “but there are variables that must be considered, such as the amount [of losses caused].”

In addition to natural disaster, the 2001 Corruption Law allows for the death penalty to be imposed in “certain situations”, namely if the act of corruption is committed when the country is in danger, including during economic or monetary crises.

Despite a global trend pointing toward the abolition of the death penalty, Indonesia is among dozens of countries across the globe that have retained capital punishment, mainly for drug offenses, murder and terrorism.

Under Jokowi’s administration, Indonesia has executed 18 death row inmates — including foreign nationals — convicted of drug-related offenses in three batches since 2015, sparking international outcry and calls from human rights activists for the country to scrap the death penalty. (kmt)