Tag: justice

Philippine president denies approving Mary Jane’s execution

A Philippine official said Monday that President Rodrigo Duterte did not give the green light for Indonesia to go ahead with the execution of a Philippine woman currently on death row for drug trafficking.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto R. Yasay clarified in a statement that Duterte never gave his Indonesian counterpart the green light to the execution of Mary Jane Veloso, contradicting reported comments from the Indonesian president earlier that day.

“[Duterte] told the Indonesian president that he respects their judicial processes and will accept whatever the final decision they will arrive at regarding her case,” Yasay said.

The clarification came after President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said that Duterte had told him to proceed with the execution of Mary Jane, according to a statement on the cabinet secretary’s website.

Jokowi said he had discussed the suspended execution of Mary Jane with Duterte during their meeting at the presidential palace when the Philippine president was on his first-ever state visit to a foreign country since he took office on June 30.

“President Duterte said at the time to go ahead with the execution,” Jokowi said, without providing further details.

Emmanuel Pinol, Philippine Agriculture Secretary who was at the meeting, said Duterte never told Jokowi that it was okay to execute Mary Jane, according to Manila Bulletin.

“The president never agreed to execute Mary Jane,” he said.

“What he said was that we respect your law, we will not interfere with your judicial process but we will ask for clemency,” Pinol added.

He also said there was an understanding that Mary Jane’s execution had been postponed indefinitely.

Jokowi said that he told Duterte that Mary Jane had been caught carrying 2.6 kilograms of heroin when she was arrested at Yogyakarta’s airport in April 2010, before being sentenced to death in October the same year.

Mary Jane was granted an 11th-hour reprieve on April 29 last year when Philippine authorities requested her testimony in an ongoing legal case in the Philippines after her alleged recruiter Maria Cristina Sergio and her partners were arrested.

Duterte made no reference to Mary Jane’s case in a joint press statement after their meeting, even though he had said before his visit to Indonesia that he would ask Jokowi to grant Mary Jane leniency.

However, he said that Indonesia and the Philippines w seeking ways to intensify cooperation against illegal drugs as part of their efforts for a drug-free Asean.

“We share the deep concern over the trade in illicit and illegal drugs and its impact on our societies,” Duterte said.


Rights groups criticise Indonesia over chemical castration for child sex offenders

Human rights advocates has decried an emergency decree signed by Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo allowing for chemical castration for child sex offenders, saying that the punishment amounts to torture.

On Wednesday, Jokowi signed a government regulation in lieu of law, or Perppu, that stipulates child sex offenders who cause their victims to suffer serious injuries, mental disorders, infectious diseases, the loss or malfunction of the reproductive organs and/or death to have additional, tougher punishment, which includes forced chemical castration.

The Perppu would be an amendment to the 2002 Child Protection Law, which punished child sex offenders by up to 15 years in prison and a maximum fine of  300 million rupiah. According to the new regulation, chemical castration will be carried out against an offender for a period of up to two years after the convict has undergone a prison term.

Offenders below the age of 18 are not subject to this punishment.

“We don’t agree [with the punishment]. It’s contrary to the anti-torture convention that Indonesia ratified in 1998,” a commissioner from the National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan), Mascruchah told The Parrot, referring to the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Amnesty International (AI) has also voiced opposition to the punishment, arguing that it violates the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Indonesia is a party.

AI urged the government to immediately repeal the amendments, which were made following several high-profile cases of child rape and calls by politicians and child rights advocates for harsher punishments for those who commit sexual offences against children.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla called on those who opposed the punishment to look at the rape victims’ rights that the perpetrators violated.

“Those who rape anyone, especially children, violate human rights,” Kalla was quoted as saying by state news agency Antara on Friday.

The government announced in October that it would set the punishment on convicted sexual predators on children.

The National Commission on Child Protection (Komnas Anak) had backed such a decree since then, saying that Indonesia is in a state of emergency with regard to child sex abuse.

The Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) data showed that the number of child abuse cases significantly jumped from 2,178 cases in 2011 to 5,066 cases in 2014.


US envoy dismayed by guilty verdict for teachers in sex abuse case

The United States ambassador to Indonesia criticized  the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the acquittal of a Canadian administrator and a local colleague accused of sexually abusing pupils at the Jakarta International School and increase their jail terms. Continue reading “US envoy dismayed by guilty verdict for teachers in sex abuse case”

An Indonesian miner survives 300 meter underground as rescue attempt underway

A rescue operation was under way Sunday to free a miner who has been trapped for seven days in an underground gold mine on Halmahera island in Indonesia’s North Maluku province.

Solo drill operator Mursalim Sahman, 36, is reportedly in good health despite being trapped in a mining chamber 300 metres underground and has maintained contact with his family using a newly installed phone line.

The Gosowong gold mine is operated by PT Nusa Halmahera Mineral (NHM), a joint venture between Australia’s Newcrest Mining, which controls 75 per cent of the shares, and state-owned miner PT Aneka Tambang.

“Earlier this morning we broke through into the chamber where Mursalim is located after completing the boring of a 70-centimetre diameter hole approximately 38 metres deep. This is a significant milestone in developing our primary rescue option,” Newcrest managing director and CEO Sandeep Biswan said in a statement released Sunday.

“Before we attempt the extraction, we will need to line the bore hole so that we can safely bring Mursalim up. It is expected that lining the hole will take several days,” Biswan said.

Local news web site Viva.co.id reported that there were 50 miners who were working in the Kencana underground mine tunnel when it collapsed on Monday, but 49 managed to get out, while Mursalim, who is a native of Halmahera, failed to do the same as he was manning heavy machinery.

The rescue operation has been under way since then. Operation of the company’s underground mines, which produce gold and silver dore, has been halted in the meantime.

A spokeswoman for NHM, Herastuti Haryogyo said the company was able to establish first contact with Mursalim Wednesday at around 10:00 Eastern Indonesia Time (WIT) since the collapse through a 54-meter bore hole with small diameter.

According to the company, Mursalim told the rescue team that he has some food and water supply to go by underground.

The company said a “geotechnical” event of unknown cause spurred the mine collapse, which occurred at 8:30 pm on Monday.

NHM workforce is about 1,700 employees and contractors. It produced 331,555 ounces of gold as of June 2015.


Lawmakers slam proposal to criminalise insulting president

Legislators have criticised Indonesian President Joko Widodo for a proposal to criminalise insulting the president, saying the move harks back to the authoritarian past.  Continue reading “Lawmakers slam proposal to criminalise insulting president”

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

Executed Brazilian convict unaware he was going to be shot until chained

The Brazilian drug convict who was executed in Indonesia this week was unaware he was going to die until he was chained and led to a shooting range to be shot, a priest who counseled him said Thursday.   Continue reading “Executed Brazilian convict unaware he was going to be shot until chained”

‘Shoot first, ask later’

Yohanes Sulaiman

Lecturer in International Relations at Indonesian Defence University

Jokowi’s administration seems to be a “shoot first, ask later” government. I think the president did not spend a long time thinking about the long-term implications of his policy of executing drug convicts on death row. He seems to think everybody must hate drug traffickers, so therefore it is okay to shoot them.

Continue reading “‘Shoot first, ask later’”

Defying international pressure, Indonesia executes eight drug convicts

Jakarta – Eight people convicted of drug trafficking were executed in Indonesia today, despite appeals for  mercy both at home and abroad. Continue reading “Defying international pressure, Indonesia executes eight drug convicts”

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”