Thursday, July 28, 2016

Calls to Stop Imminent Round of Executions in Indonesia

Julian McMahon, one of the lawyers for the Bali Nine drug traffickers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran who were executed in 2015, warned last week that more executions were imminent in Indonesia. His address to the Castan Centre's Human Right Law conference in Melbourne last week about recent developments regarding capital punishment in Indonesia and the Philippines was timely indeed.

Indonesia is apparently to go ahead with a new round of executions in coming days. Many of the prisoners have been convicted of drug offences.

McMahon spoke of the "logic of executions in our region" being "political gain".

He argued that, "the death penalty is part of a growing zeitgeist [mood]... a desire to be seen as tough and merciless."

"The whole debate is purely political..." with "Indonesia working in countries around the world to save its citizens on death row... with no other country as successful, as determined or hardworking in saving its own citizens". He pointed out that the Indonesian government claims that in the last 5 years 285 have been saved, including drug offenders.

He argued that the situation in Indonesia must be seen through the "prism of domestic politics with drugs used to distract from other problems".

He hoped that we can "move on the debate" by "assisting Indonesia as much as possible in fighting these drug problems".

The full audio of his presentation can be heard here.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch has voiced its strong opposition:

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo of Indonesia should urgently commute the death sentences of at least 14 people who face imminent execution for drug trafficking...[He] should acknowledge the death penalty’s barbarity and avoid a potential diplomatic firestorm by sparing the lives of the 14 or more people facing imminent execution...

Amnesty International has joined the call to abandon the executions:

Indonesian President Joko Widodo... will be putting his government on the wrong side of history if he proceeds with a fresh round of executions... President Widodo’s era was supposed to represent a new start for human rights in Indonesia. Sadly, he could preside over the highest number of executions in the country’s democratic era at a time when most of the world has turned its back on this cruel practice...

You can add your voice by clicking on the link in their tweet:


Indonesia has executed the first four of 14 drug convicts on death row (BBC News)

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