Indonesia: Death penalty no longer a priority
JAKARTA, Indonesia – Indonesia hasn’t changed its mind on the death penalty – but it did say it’s no longer a priority.
Attorney General HM Prasetyo on Tuesday, September 8 said it has changed its priorities to focus more on program development, given the country’s discouraging economic conditions.
"We are now focused on supporting and assisting government programs on development. We cannot do all the big things at the same time. We have to decide what is our priority?,” Prasetyo told Rappler.
Prasetyo also denied that the change of heart is due to any outside pressure. (READ: Indonesia uses faulty drug data to justify death penalty)
"No pressure. We are a sovereign nation. We never give any pressure to other country, so we will not let other country do the same thing. We are a big country,” he said.
But Prasetyo also clarified that just because it is not on top of their list right now, it does not mean the government has changed its mind on its necessity.
“We are not going to change our position on that. Particularly with drug offenders, dealers and manufacturers. We are resolute,” he said.
He said this is especially true for those whose death sentence have already been meted out, and are only waiting for their executions. He did say however that even those are not the government’s priority, although he refused to call it a delay.
He said the government is merely “evaluating” the death penalty.
“We are examining some details,” he said. “We are focused on development right now. The AGO (Attorney General Office) will focus on that issue."
Indonesia has been in the spotlight in recent months due to their death penalty, specifically their executions of foreign nationals. (READ: FAST FACTS: Executions in Indonesia)
Australia, for instance, had mounted a sustained campaign to save its citizens, who had been on death row for almost a decade, with the prime minister repeatedly appealing for them to be spared. The appeals did not work.
Amnesty International has also condemned the executions as "utterly reprehensible" in a statement from research director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, Rupert Abbott.
The Penal Code of Indonesia states that death-sentenced inmates are to be executed by firing squad, out of public view. The inmate is informed of his or her execution only 72 hours in advance. The inmate can stand or sit, and have his or her eyes covered by a blindfold or a hood.
In April however, Indonesia, in a rare move, did spare the execution of Filipino Mary Jane Veloso who is accused of drug trafficking, because of a last-minute plea from Philippine President Benigno Aquino III and the surrender of the recruiter of Mary Jane on the day of scheduled execution.
The recruiter is under investigation in the Philippines. – With reports from Febriana Firdaus and Agence France-Presse / Rappler.com
Photos of firing squad from Shutterstock