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Indonesia Executes 4 Drug Convicts

Bill Weinberg

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Last week, Indonesia carried out its first executions in over a year, sending four drug convicts to a firing squad at the special island prison of Nusa Kambangan.

The executions of the four—two Nigerians, one Senegalese and one Indonesian—came despite diplomatic pressure and international condemnation. As many as 10 other people await execution in Indonesia, including foreign nationals, and almost entirely on drug-related charges.

Campaigners are still trying to win clemency for Zulfiqar Ali, a Pakistani man who “confessed” to heroin possession after being brutally beaten by police, and Merri Utami, an Indonesian woman arrested with heroin in her bag at Jakarta’s airport after being tricked into becoming a drug mule. Their executions are believed to be imminent.

Indonesia executed 14 people in two rounds last year, again including several foreign nationals.

Just days before the new executions, the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein issued a statement, saying: “The increasing use of the death penalty in Indonesia is terribly worrying, and I urge the government to immediately end this practice which is unjust and incompatible with human rights… I find it deeply disturbing that Indonesia has already executed 19 people since 2013, making it the most prolific executioner in South-East Asia. The death penalty is not an effective deterrent relative to other forms of punishment nor does it protect people from drug abuse.”

Bur President Joko Widodo remains intransigent in his stance that drug smugglers must face the firing squad. 

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