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 Observers Warn of Renewed Backlash Following Death Row Clemency Rejection

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ol' Kesas


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BerichtOnderwerp: Observers Warn of Renewed Backlash Following Death Row Clemency Rejection   di 23 jun 2015 - 0:08

From the Jakarta Globe, Jun 22, 2015

Jakarta. Human rights activists and legal experts have again called on President Joko Widodo to halt the execution of drug traffickers following the rejection of a French national’s last-ditch appeal against the death sentence on Monday.

Joko’s tough stance against drug trafficking has seen a total of 14 people — mostly foreigners — executed in the first six months of his term.

Haris Azhar, coordinator at the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (KontraS), said the rejection of Serge Atlaoui’s appeal was predictable.

“We doubt that this matter is a purely intented for enforcing our law or sovereignty,” Haris told the Jakarta Globe on Monday.

“Instead, we believe that the government intends to establish popularity by implementing capital punishment.”

Atlaoui was arrested in 2005 for allegedly working in a factory producing ecstasy pills on the outskirts of Jakarta. He has been on death row since he was convicted not long after.

The Frenchman was one of eight individuals scheduled to be executed at Indonesia’s notorious Nusakambangan prison in April, but was granted a last minute reprieve by the Attorney General’s Office (AGO). Atlaoui has maintained his innocence throughout his time on death row.

“From the beginning, we have known that he didn’t do anything wrong,” said Atlaoui’s lawyer Nancy Yuliana Sunjoto on Monday.

“He didn’t know anything about the chemicals. He’s just a welding technician,” Sunjoto added.

In a letter sent to Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi in April, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that Atlaoui was the victim of a hasty trial and was sentenced “in a ruling containing erroneous statements.”

“The eventual execution of Mr. Atlaoui would be even more incomprehensible to the government and French people as, due to serious dysfunction in the Indonesian legal system, he did not benefit from his due rights,” wrote Fabius.

Representatives from the French Embassy in Jakarta could not be reached to provide a statement on Monday.

Imparsial’s executive director Poengky Indarti regretted Joko’s poor commitment to human rights, which contradicted his campaign promises during 2014 presidential election.

“It is very disappointing to see Joko’s administration making mistakes over and over again regarding this issue,” Poengky said.

The April executions of four Nigerians, two Australians and one Brazilian was condemned by the international community.

A similar diplomatic backlash occurred in January, when an Indonesian firing squad executed five foreigners and an Indonesian woman convicted on drug trafficking charges.

A spokesman for the AGO said a date for Atlaoui’s execution had not yet been set, but added it would not occur during the holy month of Ramadan.

On presidential orders

Joko has made a stand against drug addiction and trafficking, and it was his decision to resume executions of convicted drug traffickers after a four-year gap.

His stance has contrasted with that of former president Suslio Bambang Yudhoyono. After three men convicted of involvement in the 2002 Bali bombings were executed in 2008, Yudhoyono introduced an informal moratorium on capital punishment.

Yohanes Sulaiman, a lecturer at the Indonesian National Defense University, believed economic concerns could prevent the execution process from moving ahead.

“I don’t think he wants to risk another international backlash, especially if it ends in a boycott of Indonesia,” Yohanes said on Monday.

“But of course, this is Jokowi, so nothing can be certain,” he added, referring to the President by his popular nickname.

The April executions of Australian drug convicts Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran resulted in significant cuts in foreign aid to Indonesia.

Australian aid to Indonesia was slashed by almost AU$219.5 million, a cut of nearly 40 percent.

Joko’s decision to continue with drug-related executions has also come under criticism from human rights activists and prominent academics, who note that involuntary rehabilitation and capital punishment are not effective methods of curbing national drug use.

In an open letter to President Joko Widodo, published in the June 6 edition of the British health journal The Lancet, a group of academics and experts called for the discontinuation of the executions, saying alternative means were necessary to deal with drug use in Indonesia.

“A close examination of the nature and extent of drug use in Indonesia reveals substantial gaps in knowledge and a scarcity of evidence to support forced rehabilitation and the punitive, law enforcement-led approach favored by the government,” the letter said.

The letter stated that there was “evidence that criminalization of people who use drugs and punitive law-enforcement approaches have failed to reduce the prevalence of drug use and are fueling the HIV epidemic.”

Yohanes questioned whether the government would follow through with more executions.

“I don’t think they have the stomach to go through another international problem,” Yohanes concluded.

Double standard

The recent spate of death sentences handed down to foreign nationals for drug-related crimes has come as a shock to observers, especially when compared with the light sentences handed down for Indonesians.

The court’s rejection of Atlaoui’s appeal follows a series of high-profile arrests of law enforcement officials involved in drug production and trafficking.

In early June, Dedy Romadi, a guard at Bandung’s Banceuy Penitentiary, was caught allegedly trafficking 16 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine.

Dedy walked away from the scandal relatively unscathed, subject to little more than an “honorable discharge” from his position.

Under the conditions of his termination, Dedy will be entitled to full benefits as a civil servant, including a lifetime pension and health insurance.

Meanwhile, an East Java police officer identified by the initials “A.L.” was arrested in a drug bust that netted 13 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine.

East Java provincial police chief, Insp. Gen. Anas Yusuf, said in a statement to Tempo on June 10th, that A.L. will only face dismissal from the police force “once there is legal certainty” – meaning a conviction.

In a similar case, prison guard Bayu Anggit Permana was arrested in May while attempting to smuggle approximately 27 packets of crystal methamphetamine weighing 13.5 grams each.

Bayu, who police say will be charged with a drug dealing sentence of between 12 and 20 years of imprisonment, was a guard at Nusakambangan prison, where less than a month earlier the government executed eight men for the similar offenses.

A fourth officer, Imron, was arrested in April for allegedly dealing crystal methamphetamine as part of a trafficking ring run by death-row inmate and notorious drug trafficker Freddy Budiman at Jakarta’s Cipinang Penitentiary.

Imron, however, was symbolically stripped of his uniform in dishonorable discharge by Justice Minister Yasonna Laoly, precluding him from accessing the same benefits as other officers involved in similar cases.

Perspective change and alternative punishments

Haris, of KontraS, said Joko should change his perspective.

“This matter depends on president’s understanding if human right principles,” Haris said.

“The president seems to think that the death sentence is not a human rights abuse but a mere law enforcement.

“The president needs to change his perspective. He needs to understand that revoking the death sentence doesn’t mean that the convicts are fully freed from punishment.”

Hendardi, executive director at Setara Institute, said the government should consider other punishment, such as life sentences, to punish drugs convicts. He also suggested the government issue a moratorium on the death penalty.

“Moreover, the president should stop rejecting clemency,” Hendardi said on Monday.

“Joko must look thoroughly through clemencies proposed to him because every clemency has different case and background.

“He cannot just reject it because it relates to drugs.”

Andreas Harsono, a Jakarta-based researcher with Human Rights Watch, agreed that the fate of Serge Atlaoui now rests with the president.

“He will decide whether he is going to give clemency or not,” Andreas said, calling on the president to halt executions in Indonesia.

Andreas said that Indonesia’s stance on capital punishment for drug traffickers contravenes international law, noting that “drug trafficking is not in the category of tolerable death sentences, according to the UN.

“The death sentence is only tolerable when it is put against those who have committed multiple serious crimes, like several murders.”

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Henri R. Cingoor


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BerichtOnderwerp: Re: Observers Warn of Renewed Backlash Following Death Row Clemency Rejection   wo 24 jun 2015 - 8:58

.....“The death sentence is only tolerable when it is put against those who have committed multiple serious crimes, like several murders.” ......

Question: How much is "several murders" ?
One, two, a dozen?
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ol' Kesas


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BerichtOnderwerp: Re: Observers Warn of Renewed Backlash Following Death Row Clemency Rejection   wo 24 jun 2015 - 10:47

Howdy mas Henri, me thinks pak Andreas has been sucking on too much 'moon-shine' when he said " capital punishment for drug traffickers contravenes international law" Indonesia has the death penalty taken up in its own laws as everyone very well knows'

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BerichtOnderwerp: Re: Observers Warn of Renewed Backlash Following Death Row Clemency Rejection   

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