LEADING global rights group Human Rights Watch on Saturday criticized the continued stance of Indonesian government on death penalty to its convicted drug smugglers following its another scheduled execution .
“Indonesia’s use of the death penalty is inconsistent with international human rights law, statements of United Nations human rights experts, and various UN bodies. Human rights law upholds every human being’s ‘inherent right to life’ and limits the death penalty to ‘the most serious crimes,’ typically crimes resulting in death or serious bodily harm,” said Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
In a strong-worded statement on Saturday, Kine said that Indonesian Pres. Joko Widodo “should recognize that death penalty is not a crime deterrent but an unjustifiable and barbaric punishment.”
“Indonesia should join with the many countries already committed to the UN General Assembly’s December 18, 2007 resolution calling for a moratorium on executions and a move by UN member countries toward abolition of the death penalty,” Kine said.
According to the group, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime in a March 2010 report called for an end to the death penalty and specifically urged member countries to prohibit use of the death penalty for drug-related offenses while urging countries to take an overall “human rights-based approach to drug and crime control.”
“The UN Human Rights Committee and the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions have concluded that the death penalty for drug offenses fails to meet the condition of ‘most serious crime,’” Kine said, adding that Pres. Widodo “should promote Indonesia as a rights-respecting democracy by joining the countries that have abolished capital punishment.”
In its report, Human Rights Watch said that the looming execution of 10 drug smugglers in Indonesia “have provoked a diplomatic firestorm from foreign governments whose nationals are scheduled to face the firing squad.”
“The Brazilian government has expressed concern that its citizen Rodrigo Gularte faces execution despite evidence that he has bipolar disorder and paranoid schizophrenia. In 2000 the United Nations Commission on Human Rights expressed its opposition to imposing the death penalty “on a person suffering from any form of mental disorder,” Kine said.
“The UN special rapporteur on torture, Juan Méndez, stated in December 2014 that imposing the death penalty on people with mental disabilities violated the prohibition on torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment or punishment.
According to the rights group, six other convicted drug traffickers were recently executed in Indonesia.
“Widodo has sought to justify the death penalty spree on the basis that drug traffickers on death row had ‘destroyed the future of the nation.’ In December he told students that the death penalty for convicted drug traffickers was an ‘important shock therapy’ for anyone who violates Indonesia’s drug laws,” Human Rights Watch noted.
“According to the Attorney General’s Office statistics, 136 people were on death row in Indonesia at the end of 2014, of whom 64 have been convicted of drug trafficking, 2 for terrorism, and the rest for murder and robbery,” it added.
Human Rights Watch reported that Indonesia ended a four-year unofficial moratorium on the use of the death penalty on March 15, 2013, when it executed by firing squad Adami Wilson, a 48-year-old Malawian national convicted in 2004 of smuggling one kilogram of heroin into Indonesia.
On Friday, Indonesia has moved its 10 prisoners convicted of drug smuggling to Nusa Kambangan Island in Java where their execution through firing squad is most likely to happen.
It had already informed embassy officials and families of the convicts who are citizens from Brazil, Australia, France, Ghana, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Philippines, whose national Mary Jane Veloso, 30, draws international sympathy due to her second judicial appeal citing she is a “victim of human trafficking.”