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

Monday, April 13, 2015

Call to halt executions in Indonesia after study finds condemned not given fair trial

Maximum security prison on Nusakambangan island.
Jakarta: An Indonesian law reform organisation has called for a moratorium on executions after a study of 42 death sentences handed down between 2002 and 2013 found many of the condemned had not been given a fair trial.

In 11 of the 42 cases, law enforcement officers allegedly intimidated or tortured the defendants or witnesses, according to the report by the Institute for Criminal Justice Reform.

Defendants in 11 cases also did not appear to have had proper access to legal assistance.

Bali nine organisers Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan are among 10 drug felons who are facing the firing squad in the second round of executions to be held in Indonesia this year.

Many of those on death row with the Australians claim they did not receive a fair trial, including impoverished Indonesian labourer Zainal Abidin, French welder Serge Atlaoui and Filipina domestic helper Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso.

The report said that a lawyer was only present in Zainal Abidin's case after his interrogation had taken place.

Capital punishment is the heaviest sentence an Indonesian court can impose and therefore should be reserved for the most serious criminals and the ringleaders of crime syndicates, the report said. However "in practice", defendants with a minimal role who were not even involved in the planning of a crime were often given the death penalty.

The report pointed to Bali nine mule Scott Rush, who was sentenced to death by the Bali High Court in 2006. It was only during his appeal that the Supreme Court took into account that Rush was merely a courier and commuted his sentence to life imprisonment.

The Institute for Criminal Justice Reform review was prompted by the case of Yusman Telaumbanua, who was apparently only 16 when he was found guilty of murdering three gecko sellers in 2012.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald, Jewel Topsfield, April 13, 2015

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