The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) is calling for President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to pardon Pakistani death row inmate Zulfiqar Ali, saying he is innocent and should be released after already having been imprisoned on a drug conviction for a decade without any concrete evidence.
"We ask the President to pardon Zulfiqar Ali for the sake of justice and humanity and release him from all punishment as soon as possible," Komnas HAM commissioner Hafid Abbas said in a statement on Wednesday.
Komnas HAM had also conveyed a set of recommendations to Jokowi on Sept. 27, one that had also been given to then president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono more than 2 years ago.
Ali escaped the 3rd round of executions of drug convicts on the Nusakambangan prison island in Cilacap, Central Java, on July 29.
Hafid noted that the judges had succumbed to public pressure and went beyond the demands of prosecutors, who had sought a life sentence, for the mere sake of their public image, since public opinion deemed corruption, terrorism and drug-related offenses to be extraordinary crimes.
"That also influenced the atmosphere of the trial, so the judges imposed a more severe punishment than the prosecution demand for the death penalty," he said.
Police arrested Ali based on a statement from Gurdip Singh, an Indian national arrested on allegations of heroin possession at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport on Aug. 24, 2004.
Gurdip retracted his statement against Ali. However, the court went on to sentence him to death in June 2005.
Source: The Jakarta Post, October 6, 2016
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