"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." - Oscar Wilde

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Two executed in Iran over drug charges

Execution in Iran
Iran Human Rights (JULY 29 2016): Two prisoners were reportedly executed this week, one in central Iran and the other in the northeastern region of the country.

According to a report by unofficial source HRANA, on the morning of Wednesday July 27, a prisoner was hanged at Mashhad Central Prison (northeastern Iran) on unknown charges. 

The report identifies the prisoner as Reza Sabzevari, 32 years old, former police officer who worked in the department to fight against drugs.

Unofficial source Human Rights and Democracy Activists in Iran reports on another execution on Wednesday July 27: a prisoner was hanged at Yazd Central Prison (central Iran) on drug related charges. 

The report identifies the prisoner as Nasrollah Reigi, imprisoned for five years before he was executed.

Iranian official sources, including the Judiciary and state run media, have been silent about these two executions.

Iranian authorities have reportedly executed at least eight prisoners on Wednesday July 27th. On that day Iran Human Rights had reported on the execution of six prisoners at Darya, Urmia's central prison (northwestern Iran) on drug related charges. 

At least 50 people have been executed in Iran so far in July 2016. 

According to a recent report published by Iran Human Rights, at least 250 people have been executed in Iran so far in 2016.

Source: Iran Human Rights, July 29, 2016

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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." - Oscar Wilde

Jokowi and the Death Penalty: Weighing the Costs and Benefits

Indonesian President Joko Widodo with Germany's Angela Merkel
Indonesian President Joko Widodo with Germany's Angela Merkel
Indonesia’s president continues to execute drug offenders, despite international pressure.

The third wave of executions announced by the Indonesian attorney general’s office has created an uproar and made headlines all around the world. Out of 14 slated to be executed, four — one Indonesian citizen and three Nigerians — were shot dead by a firing squad on early Friday.

Jakarta’s tough stance on the death penalty during the administration of President Joko Widodo, commonly known as Jokowi, has exposed Indonesia to a wave condemnation. However, despite heavy criticism from the international community, including human rights advocates and foreign governments, Jokowi is determined to continue the executions, based on the argument that Indonesia has an alarming level of drug crime that particularly affects young people. Under this narrative, drug-related crimes are portrayed as the main threat to national security, more serious than terrorism and corruption.

Thus far, Jokowi has not compromised on any drug convicts on death row, including foreign nationals, in order to carry out his “war on drugs” policy. In particular, the executions of Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran of the Bali Nine in 2015 triggered a lot of debate on Indonesia’s tough stance on the death penalty.

In its position as a retentionist state, Indonesia considers the death penalty as necessary in deterring crime, maintaining the law and order of the society, and safeguarding the interest of their people.

The debates in this furor, however, are not just about the death penalty being exercised by Indonesia. It involves a bigger question — that is, the legal process in Indonesia. Under Indonesian law, death row prisoners cannot be executed unless all legal avenues, including clemency appeals, have been fully exhausted.

At the international level, Indonesia is a signatory of the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, in which it has clearly stated that every prisoner facing a death sentence has the right to fair trial and the right to go through consideration for clemency before the sentence can be enacted.

When the legal process is not fully respected and followed, this raises the question of the Jokowi government’s commitment to the rule of law and human rights.

Furthermore, the death penalty in Indonesia is also highly dependent on political factors, public pressure, and religious beliefs. While there are many local and international non-governmental organizations that advocate for the abolition of the death penalty in Indonesia, there is also strong support for the death penalty from the local community, especially among anti-drug organizations and religious groups.


Source: The Diplomat, Khoo Ying Hooi and Huong Yu Sin, July 30, 2016. Dr. Khoo Ying Hooi is Senior Lecturer at the Department of International and Strategic Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Malaya. Huong Yu Sin is a postgraduate student at the Department of International and Strategic Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Malaya.

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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." - Oscar Wilde

Friday, July 29, 2016

Singapore: Man posts photos of burning Singapore flag on Instagram

Singapore flag
An Instagram user has sparked fury online by claiming to have burned a Singapore flag and challenging authorities to give him the death penalty.

2 photos uploaded by the user show part of a Singapore flag in flames. "They have to throw the death penalty on me if I keep doing this right?" he wrote on one post.

In another post, he wrote: "I don't enjoy patriotism/this is an act of treason/will something happen yet?"

The user, whose profile page is public, was lambasted for treating the national emblem with disrespect.

Some netizens questioned the motive behind his actions while others advised him to remove the photo to avoid getting in trouble with the law.

In one of his replies, he tells a netizen to "go back doing your slave s***". He also tells him to "eat s*** and die".

Despite this show of defiance, the user subsequently removed the post, puzzling netizens even further.

Many have continued to leave comments on his other Instagram posts.Under the Singapore Arms and Flag and National Anthem Act, it is an offence to treat the flag with disrespect.

Those who do so could be fined up to $1,000.The rules state that the flag should not be allowed to touch the ground. When displayed, the flag should also be clean, undamaged and not faded.

Flags also cannot be appropriated for any commercial use, and they should not be used as part of decoration, attire and private funeral activities.

According to the National Heritage Board, flags that have been damaged or are worn-out should be disposed of properly, and "not left visible in dustbins".

Torn or worn-out flags should be packed into a sealed black trash bag before disposal.

Source: asiaone.com, July 29, 2016


Indian-origin woman, daughter charged with murder in Singapore

A 58-year-old Indian-origin woman and her 36-year-old daughter have been charged with murdering a Burmese maid at their home here and may face death penalty, a media report said on Friday.

Prema Naraynasamy and Gaiyathiri Murugayan were arrested on Wednesday for allegedly murdering 24-year-old Piang Ngaih Don earlier this week, the report said.

According to police, they received a call on Tuesday morning for assistance. When they arrived, Piang was found dead.

A court has extended their police remand.

Both the accused will be produced in the court on Thursday. If they are convicted of murder, the duo will face the death penalty.

Gaiyathiri, whose husband is believed to have worked in the police force, has a minor daughter.

Source: The Times of India, July 28, 2016

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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." - Oscar Wilde

As Indonesia conducts more executions, Australia's anti-death-penalty advocacy is still lacking

Indonesian police officers
Indonesia has carried out a 3rd round of executions under President Joko Widodo. Attorney-General H. Muhammad Prasetyo had announced that 14 people would face the firing squad, but only 4 were killed on Thursday night - 3 Nigerians and an Indonesian national.

All those executed under Widodo have been convicted of drug offences. Deputy Attorney-General Noor Rachmad said the most recent executions were: ... done not in order to take lives but to stop evil intentions, and the evil act of drug trafficking.

The remaining 10 executions were delayed. The attorney-general's office has not justified this delay. The 10 remaining prisoners include Indonesians and Nigerian, Indian, South African and Zimbabwean nationals. Those prisoners face another agonising and indefinite wait for their execution.

Indonesia faces renewed international criticism

Human rights organisations have renewed criticism of Indonesia's practice of capital punishment for drug offences.

Amnesty International has highlighted problems in the judicial process for many of those involved in the current round of executions. Several were denied proper access to legal counsel. Some have claimed they were subject to torture and ill-treatment to induce confessions.

Reprieve International condemned Indonesia for its failure to name those due to face imminent execution: " Many prisoners on death row simply do not know who will be plucked out and shot."

Such critiques highlight the many means by which capital punishment threatens human rights standards and undermines the value of human life. The practice is not only barbaric but also futile. Capital punishment has never been established as a more effective deterrent to crime than imprisonment.

Australia's response to this round of executions has been muted in comparison to the previous round, which resulted in the executions of Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, and 6 others.

This partiality was a key issue raised before the recent federal parliamentary inquiry into Australia's advocacy for the abolition of the death penalty.

What did the parliamentary inquiry recommend?

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop initiated the parliamentary inquiry following her strong but unsuccessful advocacy for clemency on behalf of Sukumaran and Chan. Its terms of reference sought to improve Australia's capacity to advocate effectively for death penalty abolition.

The inquiry committee received 62 written submissions and held nine public hearings. The committee was persuaded Australia could do much more to ensure its laws and actions were consistent with its abolitionist policy stance. Its report made 13 detailed recommendations.

The key recommendations included:

--a review of extradition law to ensure compliance with Australia's abolitionist stance;

--the amendment of Australian Federal Police (AFP) guidelines "to include a stronger focus on preventing exposure of all persons to the risk of the death penalty";

--AFP refusal to contribute to international policing operations on drug crime unless partner countries guarantee they will not seek capital punishment;

--the grounding of Australia's advocacy against the death penalty in human rights principles;

--the development, by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, of a strategy for the abolition of the death penalty. This would mirror the whole-of-government abolitionist stance taken by the UK and Norway; and

--government intervention in death penalty cases involving foreign nationals, particularly in cases of severe human rights threat.

Amnesty International Australia welcomed the recommendations. It said, if implemented, these could drive progress towards global abolition. But so far the federal government has not publicly responded to the report.

Will Australia show leadership?

Australian law and policy incorporate international obligations regarding death penalty abolition. Yet Australia's practice has been to advocate in respect of its nationals facing execution overseas.

As in the case of Chan and Sukumaran, this weakens the principled basis of Australia's efforts towards abolition. Advocacy efforts are easier to dismiss when they are seen to reflect vested interests more than principled foundations.

Australia's abolitionist advocacy must be less partial and more principled if it is to be persuasive. The parliamentary committee acknowledged this by encouraging Australia to emphasise the human rights principles that ground opposition to the death penalty. It also encouraged Australia to leverage the influence it has on key partners - the US and Asia-Pacific countries.

As Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull seeks to strengthen ties with Indonesia, advocacy against capital punishment may seem politically unpalatable. Countries often appear allergic to outside "interference" in their domestic affairs.

Recent Australian governments have certainly fallen into this camp. They have adopted human rights standards as desired and rejected international criticism when Australia fails to meet its obligations.

However, advocacy for death penalty abolition presents an opportunity for Australia to improve its increasingly dire international reputation. Here is a central human rights problem where Australia has a well-established domestic legal position. No Australian parliament has shown any interest in returning to the practice of capital punishment.

In the wake of the federal election, the committee's report stands as a challenge to the newly formed government. Will Australia choose death penalty abolition as a movement through which to rebuild its commitment to human rights? It would be a great shame if the recommendations before the government were left to gather dust.

Source: theconversation.com, July 29, 2016


Indonesia's firing squad executions: Which parts of the world still follow capital punishment

According to Amnesty International, as of July 2015, the capital punishment still continues to be legal in 58 countries.

Indonesia's decision to bring back the death penalty has met backlash from several international organisations including European Union (EU) and United Nations (UN). The United Nations described the rising number of executions in Indonesia as "alarming" and asked the country to stop executions of 14 convicts, who are set to face the death penalty by this weekend, as per Attorney General HM Prasetyo.

Indonesia is not the only country though where the death penalty is still legal. According to Amnesty International, as of July 2015, the capital punishment still continues to be legal in 58 countries. A total of 101 countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes in law while 140 countries have abolished the death penalty in law or practice.

There are several countries, apart from Indonesia, where the method of execution by gun firing/firing squad is still legal.

United States

In the United States, the method of execution is still followed in two states, Oklahoma and Utah. The state of Utah, in 2015, reinstated the death penalty by firing, when lethal injections were not available. The state, in 2004, had abolished the practice.

The last time an execution by firing squad was practiced in Utah, was back in the year 2010, when Ronnie Lee Gardner, a convicted murder, was given the death sentence. Even though the state abolished the practice in 2004, Gardner was given the sentence before 2004, and had the option to choose the method of execution.

Asia

In India, hanging is the method of execution in the civilian court system, according to the Indian Criminal Procedure Code. Under the 1950 Army Act, hanging as well as shooting are both listed as official methods of execution in the military court-martial system. The number of people executed in India since independence in 1947 is a matter of dispute since there are no official figures. The last execution took place in 2015 when Yakub Memon, responsible for the 1993 Mumbai blasts, was hanged to death.

China traditionally used firing squads. But in recent years China has begun using lethal injections and that is now believed to be the main technique. The exact number of executions in China is a state secret, but it is thought to be the most in the world.

Videos smuggled out of North Korea reportedly show public executions by firing squad.

Taiwan's death row total stands at more than 100. The number of executions, carried out by handgun shooting either to the heart or to the brain, declined after 2000 due to public opposition, with none between 2006 and 2009. They resumed in 2010 following a change in president and renewed sentiment in favor of the policy.

Vietnam, with nearly 700 people on death row, switched from firing squads to lethal injection on humanitarian grounds in 2011. Since then, it has only executed a handful of people because of the difficulty in acquiring the required drugs.

Thailand executed prisoners by a machine gun or automatic rifle fired by an executioner until 2002, when the method was changed to lethal injection. There have been no executions since 2009.

Middle-east

In Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, 3 countries that have some of the highest execution rates in the world, firing squads are rarely used. In Saudi Arabia, the usual method of execution is beheading by a swordsman. In 2013, a firing squad was used in the execution of 7 men convicted of looting and armed robbery.

The United Arab Emirates uses firing squads for all executions, but death penalty sentences are rarely carried out. The most recently reported execution was in January 2014.

Europe

Capital punishment has been completely abolished across Europe with the former Soviet nation of Belarus being the sole exception. The exact number of people executed in Belarus is believed to be 3 in 2014, according to human rights' groups, but there is some uncertainty about that figure because of the general lack of transparency there. It is believed to have been below 10 executions in the past decade. Execution is done by shooting in the back of the head, but the death penalty's use is shrouded in secrecy.

Africa

In 2013, Somalia executed 34 people while Sudan put 21 to death, according to Amnesty International. Somalia generally uses firing squads to carry out its death sentences; 2 soldiers were executed by shooting on Tuesday, according to the country's military court. In recent years, the only other country in the region to use firing squads was Equatorial Guinea, which shot 4 people last year but then issued a moratorium on future executions, Amnesty said.

Latin America

In general, the death penalty has been abolished across the region, if not by law in each country, then on a de facto basis, according to the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty. The last known execution in the region was in Cuba in 2003 by firing squad.

Source: Indian Express, July 29, 2016

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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." - Oscar Wilde

After executions, Indonesia says it will review death penalty

Batu prison's isolation cells on Nusakambangan island, Indonesia
Batu prison's isolation cells on Nusakambangan island, Indonesia
The government's statement comes just hours after it executed 4 drug convicts including 3 foreigners

It looks as if international and local pressure on the Indonesian government to abolish the death penalty is making some progress.

On Friday, July 29, the same day Indonesia executed 4 drug convicts 45 minutes after midnight, Cabinet Secretary Pramono Agung said the government would rethink its stance.

"The government is taking everything into consideration, because this is not an enjoyable thing to do," he said, echoing the words of Deputy Attorney General Noor Rachmad, who during his 2am announcement that 4 had been executed, said the job was not enjoyable but something they must do.

Agung did defend the capital punishment however, saying "drugs can damage the nation's next generation."

"Executing drug convicts is for the protection of the Indonesian nation from the dangers of drugs," he said.

He also said that those who have already been convicted and have exhausted legal means, and those that have not repented, will still be executed as the decisions are legally binding.

Despite this, he said the House would review the death penalty and which crimes are punishable under the law.

The government's statement comes after outcry both internationally and locally. The United Nations, The European Union, Amnesty International and various countries like Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States have condemned the death penalty for drug-related offenses, as it is prohibited under international law.

Within Indonesia, aside from human rights groups, former president BJ Habibie also asked that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo review the case of Pakistani Zulfiqar Ali, who was allegedly tortured to confess to a crime he did not commit under police custody.

In a letter to Jokowi, Habibie also suggested that the government reconsider the death penalty, adding, more than 140 countries in the world have implemented a moratorium.

The government ended up executing 4 of the 14 scheduled to be executed at 12:45am Friday, sparing 10.

Indonesia has some of the harshest drug laws in the world. The executions early this morning were the 3rd under Jokowi's presidency, after he killed 14 individuals including foreigners in 2015, in two batches in January and April.

Rights groups hopeful

Meanwhile, human rights groups are hopeful this is the 1st step for the possible abolishment of the death penalty.

"We think that this is a moratorium of death penalty. We hope that the moratorium will lead or become the first step to abolish the death penalty," Arinta Dea Dini Singgi of the Legal Aid Institute told Rappler.

Singgi, who also serves as Merri Utami's lawyer, the Indonesian woman spared from execution, said the Attorney General's office had said they will review the 10 other cases.

Her client, Utami, had been moved to Cilacap prison at 10:30am from Nusakambangan execution island, while they await her fate.

"We won't stop campaigning about her case and ask Jokowi to forgive her. We want to make sure that Jokowi reads the clemency and reviews the case deeply."

Utami maintains her innocence and says she was duped into being a drug mule by a Canadian man who wooed her. She was caught with heroin in her bag gifted to her by the Canadian as she landed in the Jakarta airport.

Utami, who also says she was threatened rape under police custody, has been in prison for the past 15 years.

Source: rappler.com, July 29, 2016

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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." - Oscar Wilde

Indonesia death row 10: Last-minute reprieve, but for how long?

Indonesian police officers in Cilacap
Cilacap: The fate of 10 death row prisoners who were saved from the firing squad in Indonesia just minutes before the executions took place remains unclear, with the country's attorney-general refusing to confirm if they have won a permanent reprieve.

Just four of the planned 14 executions proceeded on the Central Javan island of Nusakambangan – known as Indonesia's Alcatraz – in the early hours of Friday morning, despite all 14 prisoners being notified on Tuesday that they had just 72 hours to live.

Three Nigerians and one Indonesian were killed at 12.45am on July 29, despite human rights groups and lawyers claiming that at least one – Nigerian Humphrey Jefferson Ejike Eleweke – may have been innocent.

But the remaining 10 were never taken from their isolation cells.

Harrowing stories have emerged of their families – who were waiting in a tent on the island to identify the bodies post-execution – seeing early reports on television that all 14 had been killed.

The TV stations later updated this to suggest some executions may not have gone ahead, but it was not until the spiritual advisers returned from the killing fields two hours later that the families learned who had been saved.

On Friday, Attorney-General Muhammad Prasetyo offered his condolences to the families and countries of the four people executed.

"Prosecutors are only following the order of the law," he said.

Attorney General H.M. Prasetyo
Attorney General H.M. Prasetyo
Earlier this week Mr Prasetyo confirmed 14 drug offenders would be executed unless the list changed.

However on Friday he said 10 executions were postponed following a review involving the police, consular representatives, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and others.

"The postponement was done after a comprehensive review … to avoid errors both judicial and non-judicial," he said.

"The executions for the rest of those on death row will be determined later at an appropriate moment."

Human rights groups and lawyers had fought to persuade Indonesian President Joko Widodo to postpone the executions, claiming there was evidence of torture, corruption, bribery and miscarriages of justice.

The day before the executions former Indonesian president Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie appealed to Mr Joko to save the life of Pakistani textile worker Zulfiqar Ali, saying evidence pointed to his innocence.

Mr Prasetyo would not be drawn on whether Mr Habibie's intervention had influenced the president.

Pakistan had also exerted considerable diplomatic pressure to save Mr Ali, who was never found with drugs in his possession and was allegedly framed by Indian national Gurdip Singh, whose life was also spared on Thursday.

Pakistan's deputy head of mission in Jakarta, Zahid Raza, welcomed the reprieve but said the details were still unclear.

"It was a combined effort by everyone concerned with a human life that contributed to this," he said. "We don't know if it is a full pardon or they want to do a review of the case."

Click here to read the full article (+ photos)

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald, Jewel Topsfield, July 29, 2016

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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." - Oscar Wilde

Stays of executions last minute decision: Prasetyo

An ambulance carrying the body of one of the four executed drug convicts leaves Cilacap, Central Java on July 29, 2016
An ambulance carrying the body of one of the four executed drug convicts leaves
Cilacap, Central Java, Indonesia on July 29, 2016.
Attorney General M. Prasetyo has said the stay of execution for 10 drug convicts on Nusakambangan prison island in Cilacap, Central Java, was a last minute decision after considering various judicial and non-judicial aspects.

The decision involved the Attorney General's Office (AGO) and relevant institutions, Prasetyo said, without providing further details on the matter.

"It was decided to carry on with executions of four drugs convicts, while executions for the other 10 will be decided later and carried out at an appropriate time," Prasetyo said.

Meanwhile, the remaining 10 death-row convicts will be transferred back to their former prisons until a final decision is made, Prasetyo said.

He rejected claims that the country had halted the executions as a result of international pressure, adding that even though officials had heard many opinions, all parties should respect Indonesian law.

Freddy Budiman, Seck Osmane, Michael Titus and Humphrey Jefferson executed

Four drug convicts executed early Friday morning were big players in the drug trade, which was the basis for the government's decision to proceed with their executions amid global public outcry and local pleas for clemency, an official said on Friday.

The government executed four drug convicts Friday and spared 10 others after thorough consideration, Attorney General's Office junior prosecutor for general crimes Noor Rachmad said. Indonesian Freddy Budiman, Seck Osmane from Senegal and Nigerians Michael Titus Igweh and Humphrey Ejike were those executed.

"The four convicts were major drug dealers. For example, Freddy trafficked drugs in Jakarta, Medan, Bali and Papua," he said during a media briefing at Wijaya Pura Dock in Cilacap, Central Java, after the executions took place.

Moreover, all four convicts had appealed for judicial reviews and all had been rejected by the Supreme Court, Rochmad said.

"We conducted thorough and comprehensive consideration as to why the four inmates should be executed," he added.

The remaining 10 convicts will face further legal process, including judicial reviews, which was the reason for their executions being put on hold despite the preparations, including coffins, ambulances and funds for body transfer, being made for 14 people.

Freddy had been a notorious drug kingpin who was sent to prison on multiple drug charges. Arrested for the first time in 2009, Freddy was sentenced to death by the West Jakarta District Court for attempting to smuggle 1.4 million ecstasy pills from China into the country. He continued to control his international drug network and production despite being locked up behind bars on Nusakambangan prison island.

Meanwhile, Osmane was sentenced to death by the South Jakarta District Court for the possession of 2.4 kilograms of heroin in 2004. Nigerians Igweh and Ejike were sentenced to death for 5.8 kilograms of heroin possession in 2002 and 1.7 kilograms in 2003, respectively.

Freddy's body was taken to his hometown in Surabaya, East Java, Ejike was cremated in Banyumas while Osmani's and Igweh's bodies were handed over to representatives of their respective countries, Rochmad said.

Source: The Jakarta Post, July 29, 2016

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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." - Oscar Wilde

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Indonesia: Drug Convicts Executed, Numbers of Deaths Unconfirmed

Jakarta. Despite international calls to abandon the death penalty altogether, the government went ahead with the third round of executions at the notorious Nusakambangan prison island, Central Java, early Friday (29/07).

The executions commenced slightly after midnight, after postponed by falling tents due to heavy rain and strong wind.

“[The executions] was at 00.45 a.m.,” said an unnamed source as quoted by Antara.

However, the number of executed inmates was not revealed, as authorities have yet to announce an official statement.

Family members of the inmates were also not notified on the time of the executions.

Previously, Attornery General H.M. Prasetyo had mentioned that 14 death row inmates – all of whom drug traffickers – were part of the third round of executions.

Four Indonesian citizens have been included in the list: Freddy Budiman, Merri Utami, Pujo Lestari and Agus Hadi.

Meanwhile, the remaining are foreign nationals from Pakistan, Zulfiqar Ali; an Indian national named Gurdip Singh; Nigerians Onkonkwo Nonso Kingsley, Obina Nwajagu, Humprey Ejike, Eugene Ape, Gajetan Acena Seck Osmane and Michael Titus Igweh; as well as two Zimbabwe citizens, Ozias Sibanda and Federik Luttar.

Source: Jakarta Globe, Eko Prasetyo, July 29, 2016 (local time)


Indonesia executes 4 drug convicts

The government carried out the executions by firing squad some time after midnight

CILACAP, Indonesia (UPDATED) – Drug convicts were executed by firing squad in Indonesia on Friday, July 29, moments after midnight.

According to the Attorney General for General Crimes Noor Rachmat, of the 14 death row convicts who were to be executed, only 4 pushed through namely Indonesian Freddy Budiman, Senegal's Osmane Seck, and Nigeria's Michael Titus Igweh and Humphrey Jefferson.

The 10 others were spared although Rachmat did not elaborate on how the decisions were made.

The signs the execution would happen tonight were there.

Throughout the evening, lawyers and spiritual advisers of those sentenced to death came one by one to Cilacap’s sea port, the entry way to Nusakambangan island where executions by the government usually take place.

Buses carrying families also arrived throughout the night, to transport the families to the prison island where they claimed the bodies of those executed. Earlier in the day, family members cried, pleading for a last-minute reprieve for their loved ones.

Security was high around the port as media and locals flocked to the port’s gate, as news of the possible executions spread.

Source: Rappler, Natashya Gutierrez, July 29, 2016 (local time)


Indonesia halts execution of Pakistani drug convict

Zulfiqar Ali
Zulfiqar Ali
Indonesia on Friday halted the execution of Pakistani drug convict Zulfiqar Ali hours before he was set to face the firing squad, Express News reported.

Zulfiqar Ali, 52, was transferred Monday to Nusakambangan prison island off Java where executions take place. Indonesian authorities had told Pakistani officials his execution was imminent.

Earlier today, Indonesia rejected appeals from the UN and EU to halt the execution of 14 drug convicts, including Ali.

Rights groups including Amnesty International had expressed serious concerns about Ali’s conviction, alleging it arose out of beatings and torture and he did not have a fair trial.

Pakistan’s deputy ambassador in Jakarta, Syed Zahid Raza, said earlier on Monday his embassy has “approached all the concerned high officials to convince them that it was not a fair trial”.

Rights groups have claimed Ali, sentenced to death in 2005 for heroin possession, was beaten into confessing.

Source: The Express Tribune, July 29, 2016 (local time)


Indonesia executes 4 drug traffickers

The Indonesian government on Friday said it had executed 4 drug traffickers, giving a reprieve of uncertain duration to 10 others it had said would also be put to death.

Deputy Attorney-General Noor Rachmad said 1 Indonesian and 3 Nigerians were executed by firing squad not long after midnight local time.

He said the government hasn't decided when the other executions will take place.

Earlier this week, Indonesia's attorney-general said 14 people, mostly foreigners, would be executed.

Relatives, rights groups and foreign governments had urged Indonesia to spare their lives.

It is the 3rd set of executions under President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo who was elected in 2014 and campaigned on promises to improve human rights in Indonesia.

Source: Associated Press, July 28, 2016


Reports: Indonesia executes convicted drug traffickers

Reports say the Indonesian government has executed 4 of the 14 convicted drug traffickers.

The Indonesian government has carried out executions of 4 convicted drug traffickers, while sparing the lives of 10 other prisoners, Al Jazeera has learned.

The convicts were shot by firing squad at the Nusa Kambangan penal island shortly after midnight on Friday local time (1700 GMT on Thursday) amid pouring rain, according to TV reports.

Al Jazeera's Step Vaessen, reporting from Jakarta, said among those who were executed were 2 Nigerian citizens, a South African citizen and 1 Indonesian.

"All the others are still waiting their trials to be reexamined," our correspondent said. "It's not very clear what actually were the last conclusions why these executions didn't take place. But the government is saying it has something to do with legal issues."

The attorney general's office had said earlier on Thursday that 14 people, including foreigners, would be executed "soon".

The lawyer of Pakistani prisoner Zulfikar Ali earlier told our correspondent that his client was not among those who had reportedly been executed.

Al Jazeera's Vaessen said there had been "a lot of pressure" until the last minute to stop the executions.

The executions were the 3rd set carried out since President Joko Widodo took office in October 2014.

Widodo's 2-year-old administration will have executed more people than were executed in the previous decade. 14 were put to death last year. But 1 prisoner, a woman from the Philippines, was spared the death penalty at the last minute.

The European Union and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights had called on Indonesia to impose an immediate moratorium on executions, and the Indian and Pakistani governments also made urgent efforts to save 2 nationals among the condemned.

The Indonesian government said the death penalty is necessary for narcotics-related crimes because the country was facing a drugs epidemic, particularly affecting young people.

But critics argue that capital punishment is not an effective deterrent and some have also questioned the accuracy of the government's drug abuse statistics.

The government of Jokowi's predecessor did not carry out executions between 2009 and 2012, but resumed them in 2013.

Source: aljazeera.com, July 2016


Indonesia executes four drug convicts on Nusakambangan

Indonesia has executed the first four of 14 drug convicts on death row.

One Indonesian and three Nigerians were killed by firing squad shortly after midnight local time (17:00 GMT), reports say. There has been no confirmation yet from the government.

The remaining 10 are expected to be put to death in the coming days.

Human rights organisation Amnesty International condemned the executions as a "deplorable act that violates international and Indonesian law".

Indonesia has some of the world's toughest drug laws, and has faced intense criticism internationally for resuming executions.

Fourteen, mostly foreign, drug convicts were executed last year to widespread condemnation.

Cases of concern

This, the third round of executions under President Joko Widodo, took place at Nusakambangan prison island.

Relatives had gathered there earlier in the day to say goodbye to loved ones, according to the Jakarta Post. It also said 17 ambulances were sent to the island - 14 of them carrying coffins.

One source told local media the execution took place at 00:45 Friday, having been postponed because of heavy rain and strong winds.

Those who were executed have been named as Indonesian Freddy Budiman, and three Nigerians - Seck Osmane, Humphrey Jefferson Ejike and Michael Titus Igweh.

Those who remain on death row include three other Indonesians, a Pakistani, an Indian, two other Nigerians and two Zimbabweans.

Activists have been particularly concerned by the cases of the Pakistani man, Zulfiqar Ali - who they say was beaten into confessing to heroin possession - and an Indonesian woman, Merri Utami - who says she was duped into becoming a drug mule.

President Widodo vowed to take a hard line against drug trafficking when he was elected in 2014, saying he would not compromise over death sentences to convicted drug dealers.

Australia withdrew its ambassador from Indonesia for five weeks in protest at the execution of two Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in April 2015.

Source: BBC News, July 28, 2016

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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." - Oscar Wilde

EU calls on Indonesia to halt all executions

Indonesian police officers
The EU has called on the Indonesian government to halt all executions and to consider joining a large community of more than 140 states that have abolished the death penalty entirely or have adopted a moratorium.

The EU made the statement in a response to the planned executions of up to 14 convicts in Indonesia.

“The EU is opposed to capital punishment without exception and has consistently called for its universal abolition,” it said in a statement on Thursday.

“The death penalty is a cruel and inhumane punishment, which fails to act as a deterrent and represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity.”

Also on Thursday, the US-based group Human Rights Watch (HRW) said it opposed the death penalty in all circumstances because of its inherent cruelty. “Indonesia’s use of the death penalty is contrary to international human rights law, statements of UN human rights experts and various UN bodies,” it said.

Citing Law and Human Rights Ministry data, HRW revealed 133 people were on death row in Indonesia as of January 2015. 

They included 57 who were convicted of drug trafficking, two for terrorist offenses and the remaining 74 for murder or robbery.

HRW says human rights law upholds every human being’s “inherent right to life” and limits the death penalty to “the most serious crimes,” typically crimes resulting in death or serious bodily harm.

“Indonesia should join the many countries already committed to the UN General Assembly’s Dec.18, 2007 resolution calling for a moratorium on executions, a move by UN member countries toward abolition of the death penalty.”

Source: Jakarta Post, July 28, 2016


Execution spree in Indonesia terribly worrying: UN

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has called on the Indonesian government to stop the executions of 14 death row convicts scheduled to face the firing squad this week, saying the increasing use of the death penalty in the country is “terribly worrying.”

“I find it deeply disturbing that Indonesia has already executed 19 people since 2013, making it the most prolific executioner in Southeast Asia,” Zeid said in a statement released on Wednesday.

The whole legal process for the death row convicts, mostly sentenced for drug-related crimes, lacked transparency and did not comply with fair trial principles, including the right to appeal, the international body said.

Zeid said drug-related offenses did not fall under the threshold of the “most serious crimes” and therefore their perpetrators should not be punished by death. “The focus of drug-related crime prevention should involve strengthening the justice system and making it more effective,” he said.

The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) has confirmed that the third wave of executions under the Joko “Jokowi” Widodo administration will be carried out later this week. The Jokowi government said it could not interfere with the legal process of the death row inmates, which it said had reached a binding conclusion.

Source: Jakarta Post, July 27, 2016

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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." - Oscar Wilde

Indonesia Prepares to Execute Prisoners Convicted of Drug Crimes

Nusakambangan prison, Indonesia
JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesia plans to execute 14 death row prisoners, mostly foreigners, as early as Friday morning as it resumes a “war on drugs” that drew international condemnation last year after two mass executions of foreign drug convicts.

The attorney general’s office has not announced any dates for the prisoners’ executions, which it has said in recent weeks would be carried out “soon.” But legal advocates for the condemned, as well as Indonesian news media, have said in recent days that the convicts will face police firing squads just after midnight Thursday and that the government has already informed the embassies of the condemned foreigners.

The list of those to be executed includes 10 from the African nations of Nigeria, Senegal and Zimbabwe, and from India and Pakistan. Four Indonesians, including one woman, are also scheduled to die, according to the Community Legal Aid Institute, an Indonesian organization representing two of the 14.

“How are my clients feeling? Nobody wants to end like this, that’s for sure,” Ursa Supit, an Indonesian legal activist who is representing two of the condemned, one an Indonesian and the other from Nigeria, said on Thursday.

“But hope never ends,” she said.

All 14 prisoners were convicted of drug-related offenses, including smuggling and trafficking, according to the organization, which released their names on Wednesday.

There has been a flurry of 11th-hour appeals to spare them, but the commutation of their sentences appears unlikely.

“The action that Indonesia takes now is just about law implementation and enforcement,” said Arrmanatha Nasir, the chief spokesman for the country’s Foreign Ministry. “Just like how Indonesia respects the law of other nations, we hope all countries will respect Indonesian law.”

In recent days, the attorney general’s office has transferred an unknown number of inmates on death row for drug-related crimes to the prison island of Nusakambangan, off the south coast of Java Island, where Indonesia’s executions are carried out. The prisoners have all been placed in isolation.

On Wednesday, Attorney General H. M. Prasetyo told reporters that executions would occur this weekend but did not say when or of whom, Reuters reported. Typically, the Indonesian authorities have carried out executions shortly after midnight on Saturday.

Despite having dozens of convicts on death row, most of them there for drug-related offenses, Indonesia in recent years has executed few prisoners. Between 2009 and 2014, only four were executed: three Indonesians for murder and one from Malawi for drug trafficking.

However, shortly after the current president, Joko Widodo, took office in October 2014, he declared that the country was facing a “drugs emergency” and rejected clemency appeals from more than 60 death row inmates. International analysts have questioned the claim that there is such an emergency.

Mr. Joko enthusiastically approved the mass executions in January and April of last year, telling the leaders of allies including Australia and the Netherlands, Indonesia’s former colonial master, not to interfere with the country’s sovereignty.

Firing squads executed 13 people in 2015 for drug offenses, all but one of them foreigners. One Indonesian was executed in January of last year for murder.

The foreigners included a citizen of the Netherlands, which increased condemnation from Western nations.

One female death row inmate from the Philippines and another from France were spared the firing squad last year after last-minute appeals, but they remain on death row.

The two executed foreign prisoners with the highest profiles were Andrew Chan, 31, and Myuran Sukumaran, 34, members of the so-called Bali Nine group of Australians who were arrested in 2005 trying to smuggle 18.5 pounds of heroin out of the resort island of Bali.

A Brazilian who was executed, Rodrigo Gularte, 42, had had schizophrenia and bipolar disorder since he was a teenager, conditions that his lawyers said should have disqualified him from criminal prosecution under Indonesian law.

The United Nations and international human rights groups have said that the majority of those executed last year did not receive fair trials.

Advocates for the 14 prisoners now facing the firing squad have also complained that the prisoners either did not get fair trials, were not provided with adequate legal representation or were tortured into confessing.

The European Union issued a statement on Wednesday calling on Indonesia to halt the scheduled executions and to consider joining more than 140 nations that have abolished the death penalty.

“The E.U. is opposed to capital punishment without exception and has consistently called for its universal abolition,” the statement said. “The death penalty is a cruel and inhumane punishment, which fails to act as a deterrent and represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity.”

The United Nations also weighed in, with Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the high commissioner for human rights, saying that Indonesia’s increasing use of the death penalty was “terribly worrying.”

“I find it deeply disturbing that Indonesia has already executed 19 people since 2013, making it the most prolific executioner in Southeast Asia,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.

Source: The New York Times, Joe Cochrane, July 28, 2016


India makes last minute effort to save Gurdip Singh from execution in Indonesia today

Indonesian police officers
Gurdip Singh was found guilty of trying to smuggle drugs into. He is facing death sentence.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said government was making last minute efforts to save an Indian man facing execution on Thursday in Indonesia in a drug related case.

Gurdip Singh (48) was found guilty by Indonesian authorities of trying to smuggle drugs into the country.

"Gurdip Singh is facing death sentence in a drug case in Indonesia.

"We are making last minute efforts to save him from execution on July 28," Swaraj said in a series of tweets.


Singh was reportedly given death sentence by a district court in Indonesia's Tanggerang Banten province.

Singh, who hails from Jalandhar in Punjab, is among 14 people who are facing execution after the authorities decided to resume implementing death penalties. The decision was criticised by human rights organisations.

Source: DNA, July 28, 2016


All legal rights of death convicts fulfilled: Official

Indonesia has reiterated its insistence that the death penalty is an acceptable punishment under international law and a necessary method to address the intensifying drug crisis across the nation, an official has said.

"I need to emphasize here that all the legal rights and legal procedures related to the death-row convicts have been fulfilled," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Arrmanatha Nasir announced on Thursday.

Arrmanatha was addressing reporters' questions related to the concerns of foreign governments and institutions on the imminent executions, expected to be carried out within hours.

The spokesman reiterated that the death penalty did not violate international law. In Indonesia, Arrmanatha continued, capital punishment did not violate the right to life in the context of the 1945 Constitution.

The death penalty is applied only to traffickers, who are considered responsible for the proliferated spread of illicit drugs in the country, while abusers are given rehabilitation, said Arrmanatha, adding that Indonesia had rapidly turned from being a transit country to a destination country and a main market in the Asian region.

"As Indonesia always respects applicable laws in other countries, we also hope that every country will respect laws that are applicable in Indonesia," Arrmanatha said.

Attorney General M. Prasetyo said on Wednesday that 14 people, most of whom are foreigners, including convicts from Nigeria, Pakistan, India and Zimbabwe, had been put in isolation on Nusakambangan prison island off Cilacap, Central Java, and would be executed this week.

Source: Jakarta Post, July 28, 2016

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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." - Oscar Wilde