Indonesian Authorities Say 'Time is Approaching' for More Executions

Indonesian Authorities Say 'Time is Approaching' for More Executions
Photo Credit: AP/達志影像

What you need to know

The first round of executions in the country since last April will reportedly take place later this week, and many are calling for a halt.

Following rumors in early June that Indonesia was planning to execute 16 death row inmates after Ramadan, new reports now say that at least 14 people could be executed this week.

This will be the first round of executions in the country since drug smugglers Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, both Australians, faced the firing squad in April 2015. Indonesia executed a total of 14 people, mostly foreigners, convicted of drug crimes last year.

The most recent execution list "consists of four Indonesian and ten foreign nationals, including a Pakistani, an Indian, a Zimbabwean, a Senegalese, a South African, and five Nigerians," reports Amnesty International.

ABC reports, “The country's Attorney-General's office, which oversees executions, would not confirm any details but spokesman Mohammad Rum said: ‘The time is approaching.’”

Security at Nusakambangan prison island has been ramped up and visitors have been barred in recent days — signs that executions are about to take place.

Calls for halt

Many diplomats and human rights groups are calling on Indonesia to halt the executions, saying some of the convicts did not receive a fair trial or were tortured into confession.

A 2015 Amnesty International report found in 12 cases, defendants were “denied access to legal counsel at the time of their arrest, and at different periods thereafter.” The human rights organization also says there have been claims of ill-treatment while in police custody, but these claims have not been investigated by the authorities.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo "Jokowi" has waged a war on drugs since taking office in 2014, but his approach remains highly controversial.

Amnesty International said on July 26 that Jokowi “will be putting his government on the wrong side of history if he proceeds with a fresh round of executions.”

“There is no evidence to support President Widodo’s position. The death penalty does not deter crime. Carrying out executions will not rid Indonesia of drugs. It is never the solution, and it will damage Indonesia’s standing in the world,” said Josef Benedict, deputy director of Amnesty International's South East Asia and Pacific Regional Office.

Edited by: J. Michael Cole