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

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Indonesia: Observers Warn of Renewed Backlash Following Death Row Clemency Rejection

French drug convict Serge Atlaoui is escorted by armed Indonesian elite police commandos in March 2015
French drug convict Serge Atlaoui is escorted by armed
Indonesian elite police commandos in March 2015.
Jakarta -- Human rights activists and legal experts have again called on President Joko Widodo to halt the execution of drug traffickers following the rejection of a French national’s last-ditch appeal against the death sentence on Monday.

Joko’s tough stance against drug trafficking has seen a total of 14 people — mostly foreigners — executed in the first six months of his term.

Haris Azhar, coordinator at the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (KontraS), said the rejection of Serge Atlaoui’s appeal was predictable.

“We doubt that this matter is purely intented for enforcing our law or sovereignty,” Haris told the Jakarta Globe on Monday.

“Instead, we believe that the government intends to establish popularity by implementing capital punishment.”

Atlaoui was arrested in 2005 for allegedly working in a factory producing ecstasy pills on the outskirts of Jakarta. He has been on death row since he was convicted not long after.

The Frenchman was one of eight individuals scheduled to be executed at Indonesia’s notorious Nusakambangan prison in April, but was granted a last minute reprieve by the Attorney General’s Office (AGO). Atlaoui has maintained his innocence throughout his time on death row.

“From the beginning, we have known that he didn’t do anything wrong,” said Atlaoui’s lawyer Nancy Yuliana Sunjoto on Monday.

“He didn’t know anything about the chemicals. He’s just a welding technician,” Sunjoto added.

In a letter sent to Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi in April, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that Atlaoui was the victim of a hasty trial and was sentenced “in a ruling containing erroneous statements.”

“The eventual execution of Mr. Atlaoui would be even more incomprehensible to the government and French people as, due to serious dysfunction in the Indonesian legal system, he did not benefit from his due rights,” wrote Fabius.

Representatives from the French Embassy in Jakarta could not be reached to provide a statement on Monday.

Imparsial’s executive director Poengky Indarti regretted Joko’s poor commitment to human rights, which contradicted his campaign promises during 2014 presidential election.

“It is very disappointing to see Joko’s administration making mistakes over and over again regarding this issue,” Poengky said.

The April executions of four Nigerians, two Australians and one Brazilian was condemned by the international community.

A similar diplomatic backlash occurred in January, when an Indonesian firing squad executed five foreigners and an Indonesian woman convicted on drug trafficking charges.

A spokesman for the AGO said a date for Atlaoui’s execution had not yet been set, but added it would not occur during the holy month of Ramadan.

Double standard

The recent spate of death sentences handed down to foreign nationals for drug-related crimes has come as a shock to observers, especially when compared with the light sentences handed down for Indonesians.

Double standard: Dedy Romadi stripped of his prison
guard jacket during dismissal ceremony.
The court’s rejection of Atlaoui’s appeal follows a series of high-profile arrests of law enforcement officials involved in drug production and trafficking.

In early June, Dedy Romadi, a guard at Bandung’s Banceuy Penitentiary, was caught allegedly trafficking 16 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine.

Dedy walked away from the scandal relatively unscathed, subject to little more than an “honorable discharge” from his position.

Under the conditions of his termination, Dedy will be entitled to full benefits as a civil servant, including a lifetime pension and health insurance.

Meanwhile, an East Java police officer identified by the initials “A.L.” was arrested in a drug bust that netted 13 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine.

East Java provincial police chief, Insp. Gen. Anas Yusuf, said in a statement to Tempo on June 10th, that A.L. will only face dismissal from the police force “once there is legal certainty” – meaning a conviction.

In a similar case, prison guard Bayu Anggit Permana was arrested in May while attempting to smuggle approximately 27 packets of crystal methamphetamine weighing 13.5 grams each.

Bayu, who police say will be charged with a drug dealing sentence of between 12 and 20 years of imprisonment, was a guard at Nusakambangan prison, where less than a month earlier the government executed eight men for the similar offenses.

A fourth officer, Imron, was arrested in April for allegedly dealing crystal methamphetamine as part of a trafficking ring run by death-row inmate and notorious drug trafficker Freddy Budiman at Jakarta’s Cipinang Penitentiary.

Imron, however, was symbolically stripped of his uniform in dishonorable discharge by Justice Minister Yasonna Laoly, precluding him from accessing the same benefits as other officers involved in similar cases.

Source: The Jakarta Globe, Andreyka Natalegawa, Kennial Caroline Laia, June 22, 2015

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