Tag: Indonesia execution

Spotlight on Indonesia’s law enforcement institutions after execution

Indonesia executed four convicted drug traffickers on July 29, the third group execution since President Joko Widodo took office in October 2014. A firing squad killed them amid pouring rain shortly after midnight on the Nusa Kambangan penal island in Central Java.

The executed inmates were identified as Freddy Budiman from Indonesia and Seck Osmane, Michael Titus and Humphrey Jefferson Ejike – all from Nigeria.

While the public was surprised after being told that only four were executed despite the planned 14, it was a confession by Budiman in an article that circulated just before the execution that shocked the country.

The article written by Haris Azhar, coordinator of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (KontraS), used Freddy Budiman’s drug smuggling case to show just how flawed the Indonesian legal system is, where impunity reigns.

The confession disclosed in full detail how top officials from the National Police, the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) and the Indonesian military (TNI) were deeply involved in Budiman’s illegal activities for years. Haris said he had sent the article to presidential spokesman Johan Budi on July 27, to try to get the president to issue a stay of execution. Since there was no response, Haris decided to publish the article less than 24 hours before the execution took place.

In the article, Haris said he had received an invitation from a church organization that is active in providing spiritual assistance to inmates in the Nusa Kambangan prison complex. He then had a chance to meet with a number of death-row inmates who were convicted of terrorism and those who were believed to be victims of miscarriages of justice. He chatted with Budiman for two hours, describing in detail the assistance he had received from powerful people.

The testimony reported by Haris went viral on social media, shortly before the drug kingpin was put to death by the firing squad, saying he had over the years given around Rp450 billion (US$34.42 million) to the narcotics agency and Rp90 billion to top officials at the National Police.

Once, Budiman told Haris, he had delivered drugs from Medan, North Sumatra, using a car belonging to a two-star TNI general. The general even accompanied him in the car during the journey, he claimed.

Freddy Budiman was arrested on April 28, 2011, by the Jakarta Police’s narcotics division for smuggling 1.4 million ecstasy pills from China. He was sentenced to death by the West Jakarta District Court in 2012.

From November 2012 to July 2013, Budiman was confined at the Cipinang Narcotics Prison in East Jakarta. Although he was sentenced to death, he shocked the Indonesian public as he was still able to carry on his drug dealing activities from within his prison cell. He was then transferred to Batu Prison on Nusakambangan island in July 2013.

He dodged execution at least twice as his lawyer team had kept postponing a plan to file for a case review. 

As expected, instead of cleaning up their own acts, the National Police and the narcotics agency filed a report against Haris with the police’s Criminal Investigation Department, accusing him of violating defamation provisions in the 2008 Electronic Information and Transactions Law.

“We will check the truth of the statement. If it was correct, we will take further action,” TNI chief Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo said on Aug. 6 as quoted by kompas.com, commenting on the part of the story of the delivery of the drugs in the two-star general’s car.

Legal experts have since called for the government to provide protection for Haris, while The Witness and Victim Protection Agency (LPSK) said law enforcers needed to cooperate with those who had information and make them justice collaborators, not criminalize them.

More than 100 people are currently on death row in Indonesia primarily for drug-related crimes, according to the Justice Ministry. Last year, the country executed 14 death row convicts. Jokowi, as the president is known, has taken a tough stance against drug trafficking since his election in 2014, saying the country is facing a drug emergency.

In a new development, president Jokowi told an independent team to check the validity of Freddy’s confession saying “All who can help verify the claims should help the team although they need to be very careful since it’s an old story”.

The Indonesian police decided to suspend the defamation case against Haris Azhar while independent team is working to verify the story.

French drug convict won’t be executed in near future, Attorney General’s office says

A French drug convict who lost his last-ditch appeal to avoid execution will not face firing squad in the immediate future, the Indonesian Attorney General’s office said.

Jakarta’s State Administrative Court on Monday rejected Serge Atlaoui’s appeal challenging a decision by President Joko Widodo to deny his request for clemency. Atlaoui, who was sentenced to death in 2007 for working in an ecstasy factory, was due to be executed in April but a last-minute legal challenge prompted the Attorney General’s office to grant a stay of execution.

Attorney General’s office spokesman Tony Spontana said Atlaoui would be included in the next round of executions, the date of which has not been decided.

“The next round of executions will not be carried out in the near future, at least not in this holy month of Ramadan,” Tony said. A panel of three judges at the State Administrative Court said it did not have jurisdiction to examine the president’s decisions on clemency.

“Granting clemency is the president’s prerogative right and therefore the decision cannot be challenged at the State Administrative Court,” chief judge Ujang Abdullah said. Atlaoui, 51, said he was a welder who installed tanks, pumps, distillation equipment in what he descibed as an acrylic production plant.

He argued that the death sentence was too harsh for his actual role in the crime. Eight people convicted of drug trafficking were executed at the Nusakambangan penal island in April, including seven foreigners, despite international calls mercy. Among them were Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, who were the subject of repeated appeals for clemency from Australian leaders.

The other foreign convicts executed were four Nigerians and a Brazil national. Another drug convict facing execution, Filipina Mary Jane Veloso, received a stay of execution after a woman who was involved in hiring her turned herself in to authorities in the Philippines. Supporters hope that the woman’s case will show that Veloso was a victim of human trafficking.

The European Union and the United Nations urged Indonesia to declare an “immediate moratorium” on the use of the death penalty in the wake of the executions.

President Joko Widodo has vowed not to grant clemency to drug traffickers, saying that Indonesia is facing a drug emergency. He cited data from the National Narcotics Agency that suggest that about 50 people die every day because of drug abuse. However some experts have questioned the validity of the statistics and raised concerns about the use of questionable methods in data collection.

In an open letter published in leading health journal The Lancet, a group of Indonesian experts urged Jokowi to end the use of the death penalty for drug trafficking. A researcher at Atmajaya University’s HIV and AIDS Research Center, Irwanto, said he the group was concerned that the government had used the estimates as the basis for its drug policy without providing sufficient opportunity for independent peer review.

“Obtaining valid estimates of drug use is not an easy, direct process and we need to make sure that national policies are based on evidence that is thoroughly peer-reviewed and transparent,” Irwanto was quoted as saying by The Jakarta Post earlier this month. “Each human life matters. Productive human lives may be compromised by misguided policies,” he said.

The story has been updated with comments from the Attorney General’s office

Coffins readied as calls mounting for Jokowi to stop execution of drug convicts

Jakarta – Authorities are preparing coffins as pressure is mounting on Indonesian President Joko Widodo to stop the imminent execution of up to 10 death-row drug convicts after the inmates were given their 72-hours notice until they are shot by firing squads. Continue reading “Coffins readied as calls mounting for Jokowi to stop execution of drug convicts”

Indonesian authorities hint execution of drug convicts imminent, summon embassies

Jakarta – The Attorney General’s office said Friday it has issued a letter ordering the execution of 10 drug convicts and embassy officials have been requested to travel to Nusakambangan prison island at the weekend.  Continue reading “Indonesian authorities hint execution of drug convicts imminent, summon embassies”