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Indonesia's President Joko Widodo issues order to shoot drug traffickers

President Rodrigo Duterte (left) and President Joko Widodo, Jakarta, 2016
President Rodrigo Duterte (left) and President Joko Widodo, Jakarta, 2016
JAKARTA: President Joko Widodo has issued a shoot-to-kill order against foreign dealers and traffickers, as he called for tougher action in Indonesia's war on drugs.

"The police and TNI (military) have been firm, especially when dealing with foreign drug traffickers entering the country," said the President, popularly known as Jokowi. "If they resist arrest, just gun them down, show no mercy."

Joko, who was speaking at an event in Jakarta on Friday night, also warned that the drug situation has put the country in a national emergency.

But his comments have drawn comparisons to his Philippine counterpart Rodrigo Duterte, who has been criticised for his drug war killings, which have left thousands dead.

Indonesia has one of the world's toughest drugs laws, and remains one of 33 countries that still use capital punishment for drug-related offences.

Since the country lifted a four-year moratorium on the death penalty in 2013, 18 people - all drug traffickers - have been sent to the firing squad.

Among the 15 foreigners executed were Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, both of whom were part of the Bali Nine, a name given to a group of nine Australians convicted for attempting to smuggle 8.3 kg of heroin in April 2005.

Indonesia has struggled to contain the drug problem, with officials estimating that there are at least 1.2 million drug-abusers in the country.

Ecstasy, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine, better known as crystal meth, are the drugs of choice for substance abusers in Indonesia, similar to those preferred by drug users in many other countries in the region.

On July 13, a suspected drug trafficker from Taiwan was shot dead by Indonesian police as he tried to escape.

Lin Ming Hui was one of four Taiwanese men found in Banten, a city near the capital Jakarta,with one tonne of crystal meth, better known by its Indonesian street-name 'Shabu-shabu'.

Indonesian National Police chief Tito Karnavian said following the incident that he had ordered his officers not to hesitate when having to use their firearms against drug dealers who resist arrest.

Indonesian National Police chief Tito Karnavian
Indonesian National Police chief Tito Karnavian
General Tito, citing the example of the Philippines, said he believes the death penalty was an effective way to combat drug dealers, despite the controversies surrounding capital punishment.

"From the practice in the field, we see that when we shoot at drug dealers they go away," he added, referring to President Duterte's shoot-to-kill order to the Philippine National Police. "So if such a policy were implemented in Indonesia, we believe that the number of drug traffickers and users in our beloved country would drop drastically."

His remarks, however, drew a strong response from some observers such as Human Rights Watch deputy director for Asia, Phelim Kine.

Kine said General Tito should "denounce the Philippines' war on drugs for what it truly is - a brutal, unlawful assault on the rule of law, human rights, and basic decency that has targeted some of the country's poorest, most marginalised citizens".

He also called on Joko to send a clear message to the police that efforts to address the complex problems of drugs and criminality require the security forces to respect everyone's basic rights, not demolish them.

He added: "Duterte's drug war is not about 'capital punishment' - a judicially imposed sentence after a criminal trial - but a police-led summary killing campaign that that has killed more than 7,000 Filipinos since Duterte took office."

Source: The Star, The Straits Times/Asia News Network, July 22, 2017


Jokowi orders police to gun down foreign drug traffickers


President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has instructed law enforcement officers to impose the sternest sanctions on drug dealers operating in Indonesia, including gunning them down if necessary.

“I have told you, just be firm, especially with foreign drug dealers who enter the country and resist [upon arrest]. Gun them down. Give no mercy,” he said in a speech on the United Development Party (PPP) national working meeting (Mukernas) in Jakarta on Friday.

The statement came following the largest seizure of crystal methamphetamine, locally known as shabu-shabu, weighing one ton from Taiwan last week. The police arrested four Taiwanese men who allegedly attempted to distribute the drugs in Greater Jakarta and shot dead one for resisting arrest.

"We are indeed in an emergency situation in dealing with drug trafficking," Jokowi added.

National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian said a lot of drug dealers thought that Indonesia was a potential market because they considered its drug laws weaker than those of Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines.

“On this occasion, we want to emphasize that the police would act firmly and toughly, especially against the foreign [drug dealers]. I even told [officers] to act by ‘custom,' which means if they resist [arrest], shoot. In this case, one Taiwanese was shot dead,” Tito said earlier.

Tito alleged that the suspects had used a cruise ship, called the Wanderlust, to smuggle one ton of crystal meth from Taiwan to Indonesia. After dropping the drugs off, the Wanderlust travelled to the Java Sea, Karimata Strait and Batam. 

Source: The Jakarta Post, Haeril Halim, July 22, 2017


Indonesia to Implement Duterte's Drug War Approach


Indonesian police seized a ton of crystal methamphetamine
Indonesian police seized a ton of crystal methamphetamine
worth $112 million in Serang, Banten, on July 13, 2017.
Jakarta. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has ordered law enforcers to shoot drug traffickers to deal with what he called a narcotics emergency facing the country.

"No mercy for them [foreign drug traffickers]. We are currently in an emergency in terms of drug abuse," Jokowi said in Jakarta on Friday (21/07), as quoted by state-run news agency Antara.

The president spoke after police seized a ton of crystal methamphetamine worth Rp 1.5 trillion ($112 million) in Serang, Banten, on July 13. The narcotic, locally known as shabu-shabu, was smuggled from China and constitutes the Indonesia's largest seizure to date.

Police arrested four Taiwanese men who allegedly attempted to distribute the drugs in the greater Jakarta area. One of them was shot dead while resisting arrest.

Jokowi said the police and the Indonesian Military (TNI) are working together to act decisively against drug traffickers.

"Now, the police and the TNI are really firm, particularly against international drug dealers who enter Indonesia. Just shoot them if they even show a little resistance," he added.

National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian was quoted by Antara on Thursday as saying that drug smugglers are targeting Indonesia because they deem the country's law enforcement efforts weak, unlike Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines.

"They [drug traffickers] have noticed that, apart from the potential market, we [law enforcement officers] may be weak to act. Our laws are considered weak; that causes them to become rampant in Indonesia," Tito said in Jakarta.

He said international drug traffickers have been given a stern warning not to consider Indonesia as one of their main destinations for the illegal drug trade.

"I have ordered the police to crack down and act tough, especially against foreign drug dealers. I have also told [officers] to act in accordance with their standard operational procedure, which also means shooting them if they resist arrest," Tito said.

Indonesia is not the only Southeast Asian country under threat from the widespread distribution of illicit drugs. The Philippine government under President Rodrigo Duterte declared war on drug pushers last year.

Warning From Rights Activists


Extrajudicial killings in the Philippines have drawn condemnation from the international community and human rights groups.

Usman Hamid, country director for the United Kingdom-based rights group Amnesty International in Indonesia, said the statements by Jokowi and Tito may result in law enforcement officials on the ground committing unlawful actions, such as extrajudicial killings or summary executions, which constitute gross human rights violations.

"Duterte's war on drugs is the wrong kind of approach for a democratic country. Indonesia must look for a better approach or best practices from other countries," Usman told the Jakarta Globe.

He added that Duterte declared war on drugs after the state imposed martial law with the parliament's approval. The implementation of Duterte's shoot-on-sight policy violates the country's constitutional law and other regulations.

Usman said Jokowi and Tito's remarks could be regarded as a move to implement martial law in Indonesia. He added that their statements show a lack of understanding of basic norms of human rights and the rule of law.

Source: Jakarta Globe, July 22, 2017

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