Indonesia is one of the countries that still upholds capital punishment (death penalty) for convicted drug traffickers. After having a moratorium on executions between 2008 and 2013 (supported by then President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono who was against the use of capital punishment), Nigeria-born drug trafficker Adami Wilson was the first convicted person to be executed again by Indonesian authorities in March 2013.

New Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who took office in October 2014, takes a harder stance on drug abuse and drug trade as he wants to protect the health of the Indonesian people (each year between 40 and 50 people die from drug-related reasons in Indonesia). Therefore, foreign drug traffickers should not expect to get clemency. Joko Widodo, often referred to as Jokowi, proved his tough stance when - amid international pressure - he ignored pleas for clemency and allowed the execution of five foreigners (from Brazil, the Netherlands, Malawi, Nigeria, and Vietnam) and one Indonesian citizen in January 2015. These executions temporarily led to diplomatic tensions as the Netherlands and Brazil recalled their ambassadors back to their home countries for discussion.

One month later, Jokowi ignored requests for clemency from the Australian government when Indonesian authorities started to prepare the executions of two Australian citizens: Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. Although fierce foreign opposition to these executions (including Australian threats to boycott holidays to Bali) did succeed in delaying the executions, there seems to be little chance that Indonesia will cancel the executions. Chan and Sukumaran, who have been on death row in Indonesia since 2006, have been identified as leading the ‘Bali Nine’, a group of nine people (arrested on the island of Bali in 2005) that were found guilty of attempting to smuggle eight kilograms of heroin from Bali to Australia.

Indonesian Attorney General H.M. Prasetyo stated that Indonesia has postponed the executions of several foreign drugs convicts as the country is host of the 60th Asian-African Conference (19-24 April 2015).

This month, it was French President Francois Hollande who warned Jokowi that diplomatic relations between Indonesia and France are to be damaged if Indonesia goes ahead with the execution of Serge Atlaoui. Earlier this month, Indonesia’s Supreme Court rejected an appeal implying that preparations for Atlaoui’s execution can be made. Atlaoui has been imprisoned for over a decade for his role in an ecstasy lab in Jakarta. However, Atlaoui has always denied these charges.

International appeals are unlikely to change Jokowi’s mind. In Indonesia capital punishment enjoys considerable support among the elite and population at large. Moreover, Jokowi understands that Indonesians want a strong leader who can resist foreign influences. As such, it is in the interest of Jokowi himself to go-ahead with the executions and refuse presidential clemency. Moreover, the disturbance of international relations is only a temporary matter. For instance, the Dutch and Brazilian diplomats that were recalled back to the home countries after their citizens had been executed in January 2015, returned back to Indonesia after a few weeks and there have been no permanent consequences. After all, is it worth jeopardizing billions worth of trade for the life of one drug trafficker?

In January 2015 it was reported that 138 people are currently on death row in Indonesia, most of them - 64 - on drug-related crimes.


arif |

For the leaders of the world. I want to know. What do you think about the biggest issue of the history about the persecution of HUMAN CRIME in china like FALUN GONG, Genocide, ilegal labour, organ harvesting etc. The number of VICTIMS already MILLIONS.Since 1999. It has been 15 years. And its still happening right now.