Despite a series of diplomatic pressures and legal appeals, Indonesia has carried out its first executions since 2013.
This morning, four drug offenders were sentenced to death by firing squad on the island of Nusa Kambangan, Central Java. The convicts were identified as Freddy Budiman from Indonesia; Humphrey Jefferson, Ejike Eleweke and Michael Titus Igweh, from Nigeria; and Seck Osmane from South Africa.
Budiman was sentenced in 2012 after he was found guilty of smuggling 1.4 million ecstasy pills from China; Jefferson was found in possession of 1.7kg of heroin in 2003 and was sentenced a year later; Igweh was in possession of 5.8kg of heroin and was charged in 2002; while Osmane carried 2.4kg of heroin which sentenced him the death penalty in 2004.
Ten others who were also scheduled to face the firing squad this morning were unexpectedly saved from their fates, although authorities failed to give a specific reason for the reprieve. There have been reports that they will be executed at a later date due to a major storm hitting the island.
Indonesia’s capital punishment policy has sparked international debates among government officials and human rights organizations. Questioning Indonesia’s decision to terminate people’s lives for drug offenses, international rights groups have called out to President Joko Widodo to stop applying the death penalty at once.
“There is no evidence to support President Widodo’s position. The death penalty does not deter crime,” said Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s deputy director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, as reported by The Guardian.
The United Nations human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has also expressed his concern of the country’s handling of drug offenses:
“I find it deeply disturbing that Indonesia has already executed 19 people since 2013, making it the most prolific executioner in Southeast Asia.”