In the Bible Belt, Christmas Isn’t Coming to Death Row

When it comes to the death penalty, guilt or innocence shouldn’t really matter to Christians.  

NASHVILLE — Until August, Tennessee had not put a prisoner to death in nearly a decade. Last Thursday, it performed its third execution in four months.
This was not a surprising turn of events. In each case, recourse to the courts had been exhausted. In each case Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, declined to intervene, though there were many reasons to justify intervening. Billy Ray Irick suffered from psychotic breaks that raised profound doubts about his ability to distinguish right from wrong. Edmund Zagorksi’s behavior in prison was so exemplary that even the warden pleaded for his life. David Earl Miller also suffered from mental illness and was a survivor of child abuse so horrific that he tried to kill himself when he was 6 years old.
Questions about the humanity of Tennessee’s lethal-injection protocol were so pervasive following the execution of Mr. Irick that both Mr. Zagorski and M…

How new antiterrorism law will change Indonesia's war on terror

Indonesia terrorist attack
Indonesia will soon have a new antiterrorism law to replace the current law, which is widely seen as weak, with deliberations on the antiterrorism bill expected to conclude this May or June.

Speaking to The Jakarta Post in an interview on Thursday, Enny Nurbaningsih, head of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo administration's team to deliberate the antiterrorism bill, ensured the new legislation could provide security for Indonesians against deadly terror attacks such as those that had occurred recently in numerous places across Indonesia's most populated island of Java.

Calls for the government and the House of Representatives to conclude the long-due deliberation on the bill have mounted after the attacks, which were allegedly conducted by an Islamic State (IS)-linked local jihadist organization known as Jamaah Ansharud Daulah (JAD).

Enny, who is also head of the Law and Human Rights Ministry's National Law Development Agency (BPHN), said the government expected deliberations to be concluded at a hearing with the parliament scheduled for May 23, saying that nearly "99 %" of the bill's content had been finalized, and only the debate over the definition of terrorism as a crime remained to be concluded.

Below are some crucial points in the antiterrorism bill, which was initiated after the Jan. 14, 2016 bombings on Jl. MH Thamrin, one of Jakarta's busiest thoroughfares.

What is terrorism?

One of the main reasons the deliberations have been dragging on for months is that the government and the House have failed to reach an agreement on what constitutes terrorism.

While the government insists that terrorism is "any deed that uses violence or threats of violence on a massive scale, and/or causes damage to strategic vital objects, the environment, public facilities or international facilities", the House demands that terrorism as a crime includes "any deed that is based on political and ideological motives and/or threats to state security."

Lawmakers have said a detailed and rigid definition of terrorism as a crime would ensure that investigators crack down on terrorist activities, while the government believes it would only hamper terrorism prevention and mitigation processes, as it would obligate investigators to determine whether suspects had either political or ideological motives before naming them as terrorists.

Enny said the government would accommodate the parliament's request by inserting the latter's version in the general explanation part of the bill, not in the verse section of it.

The government expects to convey that proposal to the parliament at the scheduled May 23 hearing, so that the bill can be further deliberated before being proposed for the next plenary meeting.

Terrorism prevention measures

Law enforcers will have greater powers. The new terrorism law will include numerous provisions on terrorism prevention measures -- something that is not dealt with comprehensively in the prevailing terror law, Enny said.

"For instance, we can do nothing to people who plan terror attacks if we use the prevailing law," said Enny. Under the bill, plotting terror attacks is a crime.

The bill stipulates that a person accused of terrorism could be held in custody from 7 to 14 days without charges. Law enforcers could hold them for up to 200 days after officially charging them with terrorism.

Rights activists have voiced concerns over the policy, but Enny ensured that the policy would be carried out in accordance with human rights principles.

If there is a law enforcement officer found guilty of violating human rights principles during the terrorism investigation process, they will be charged with a criminal offense, said Enny.

People who import explosives or components such as chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or radioactive weapons for terrorism purposes into the country, or make, receive or possess them, can be charged under Article 10a of the bill, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years' imprisonment.

The bill also charges people who mastermind terror attacks, partake in paramilitary training with the purpose of launching terror attacks or join overseas wars related to terror attacks, with maximum terms ranging from 12 years, 15 years, 20 years to life sentence and the death penalty.

That means the police will later be able to charge Indonesians returning from war-torn countries where they are proven to have joined a terrorist group such as IS.

Terrorism prevention measures also include what the bill describes as "counter-radicalization" and "deradicalization" activities.

Counter-radicalization activities are intended for people or groups that have been exposed to radical teachings that could potentially lead them to committing terror attacks. Deradicalization activities are intended for terrorist suspects, defendants, convicts, inmates or former inmates and aim to reintegrate these people into society.

The bill says counter-radicalization and deradicalization activities will be detailed in other supporting regulations.

The roles of the Indonesian Military (TNI)

The decades-long rivalry between the 2 institutions to handle and manage state security has been apparent during the deliberation of the terrorism bill. Activists have also warned about possible abuse of power carried out by the 2 authorities in handling terrorism.

Enny ensured that, while the bill finally included a provision on the role of the TNI in countering terrorism, the military would not be involved in law enforcement.

"To prevent the military from entering the domain of law enforcement, we have decided that the President will regulate the TNI's involvement through a government regulation."

The regulation will refer to the 2004 TNI Law, which stipulates that the TNI's involvement in civilian affairs depends on the political decision of the state, which should be consulted with the House.

Compensation and protection for victims

Victims of terror attacks have long sought comprehensive provisions about their rights as victims.

Yayasan Penyintas Indonesia, an organization that supports terror victims, detailed in 2016 that over 1,900 victims of terror attacks suffered from physical and mental trauma from a number of bomb attacks that had occurred since the start of the millennium.

House terrorism bill committee chairman Muhammad Syafi'i said last year that "the well-being of victims has been one of our biggest concerns since the beginning of the deliberation."

The terrorism bill has one special chapter dedicated to detailing protection for victims of terror attacks. The bill acknowledges two kinds of victims: direct victims, for example victims who are killed or injured in attacks, and indirect victims, for example wives who lose their husbands as a result of a terror attack.

The bill says terror victims are the "responsibility of the state", a responsibility which is fulfilled by providing medical assistance, psychosocial and psychological rehabilitation, as well as financial compensation for the families of the deceased.

Source: Jakarta Post, May 21, 2018

Death Penalty for Terrorist is Firm Message from Indonesian Govt

Indonesia terrorist attack
The death penalty given to convict of terrorism case Aman Abdurahman is considered to be a form of a firm message from the Government of Indonesia in eradicating terrorism.

"The death sentence in my opinion can only be interpreted as a firm message of the government in eradicating terrorism in front of them, the supporters of ISIS," said Director of The Islah Center and observer of terrorism Mujahidin Nur in Jakarta, Monday (5/21/2018).

That, he said, also minimizes the risk of spreading the teachings compared to if the convict is still free to spread his teachings.

Last week, the South Jakarta District Court dropped a capital punishment to convicted terrorist Aman Abdurahman.

Mujahidin said that the terrorist group (ISIS) is a group that moves on ideological basis, not on individual leader or leadership, for example Aman Abdurahman.

"The ideology-based group characteristics like ISIS is resilient, not easily discouraged and cannot be attenuated so even if the leaders are sentenced to death as given by the government through the South Jakarta District Court to Aman Abdurahman," he said.

Because, he said, ideology as the foundation of their movement (teaching of takfiri, Muslim accusing another Muslim of apostasy) spread by Aman Abdurahman has been massively distributed throughout the network or group.

"Although Indonesian ISIS is lack a leader who has field and scientific skills like Aman Abdurahman, but the death penalty to Aman Abdurahman does not necessarily have a significant impact on the weakening of terrorism networks in Indonesia," he said.

Even so it has a positive impact in the short term because the supporters of ISIS in Indonesia lost a figure that has the knowledge and leadership like Aman Abdurahman.

"I analogize in the Al-Qaeda group, for example, the killing of Osama bin Laden has had no significant effect on the halting of global terrorism masterminded by the Al-Qaeda group because Al-Qaeda's ideology has spread to various parts of the world," he said.

He asserted the death sentence to the leader of the terrorist group will effectively stop terrorism seen from 2 variables namely first, if the terrorist leader has a strong influence or charisma among his followers.

Secondly, of course this applies to terrorist groups who have few members and actually make the leaders as foundation of their movement so this death sentence will be effective.

"ISIS is a terrorist organization that has many followers," he added, as quoted from Antara.

Source: netralnews.com, May 21, 2018

Komnas HAM: Death Sentence to Aman Abdurrahman Detrimental

Indonesia terrorist attack
The National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) is disappointed with the death sentence charged to the terrorist convict Aman Abdurrahman. The Commission considers the death sentence is detrimental to the handling of terrorism case.

"The death to the terrorists is a hope," said Komnas HAM member Choirul Anam in Menteng, Jakarta, on Saturday, May 19.

Anam agreed that the act allegedly done by Aman is barbaric. However, executing a terrorist is detrimental to counter terrorism.

He considers the death sentence will not cause a deterrent effect for other terrorists. Because death is indeed the ultimate goal of the terrorists.

"We see Amrozi (Bali bomber) after being sentenced to death actually considered as a hero by his group," he said.

Anam said the imprisonment accompanied by de-radicalization efforts is far more effective in dealing with terrorism cases. It will certainly help police to dismantle their networks.

"The backbone against terrorism is to dismantle its network," he said.

Source: tempo.com, May 21, 2018

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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

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