Friday, March 15, 2013

Indonesia Executes First Convict in Four Years

A Nigerian drug dealer was executed by firing squad on Thursday night in Indonesia's first execution of a convicted felon since 2008.

“Last night, Adami Wilson was executed, [he was] a drug dealer,”  Indonesia's Attorney General Basrief Arief said on Friday. “The [execution] place was around the Thousand Islands.”

Basrief said that the Attorney General's Office (AGO) planned to execute nine more convicts this year.

Despite Indonesian courts sentencing 113 people to death in 2012, the government has mulled over commuting death sentences as part of a wider push to move away from capital punishment. Three Islamic militants involved in the 2002 Bali bombings were the last convicts to be executed in Indonesia in November 2008.

Adami, 48, was sentenced to death in 2004 for smuggling 1 kilogram of heroin by the Tangerang District Court, according to reports in Majalah Detik. He filed an appeal the same year, but it was declined.

In prison, Adami ran a drug distribution ring in an attempt to earn enough money to buy his way off death row, he told the magazine. He had heard from other convicts that inmates could bribe their way to a life sentence for Rp 1 billion ($103,050).

In September of last year, Adami was temporarily admitted to a nearby hospital for treatment. The National Narcotics Agency (BNN) re-arrested Adami after they caught one of his couriers carrying drugs.

Adami was executed Thursday night as the first of 10 scheduled executions to be held this year.

His embassy told the Jakarta Globe that police failed to inform them of the execution of a Nigerian national.

Yakubu Adamu, the first secretary of the Nigerian embassy in Indonesia, declined to offer additional details about their interaction with Adami.

“We have protocols to follow and you will have to talk directly to the ambassador,” Yakubu said, adding that he still wanted to find out more information about the case before speaking with the press.

Bilateral cooperation

Indonesia and Nigeria signed a memorandum of understanding to fight drug trafficking between the two countries just last month, when President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa visited the country to meet their counterparts — Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and Foreign Minister Joy Ogwu.

Insp. Gen. Anang Iskandar, head of the BNN, who was part of the president's entourage on the two-day visit in February, had said the cooperation included an information exchange on drug smuggling activities from Nigeria to Indonesia.

“This MoU between Indonesia and Nigeria is very important. As we know, there are many Nigerians that [are] involved in the drug networks in Indonesia,” said Anang, as quoted by

Anang, who said at least 13 Nigerians had been sentenced to death in Indonesia, explained that the Nigerian government had made no special request to reduce sentences or to extradite their citizens who had been arrested for drug-related crimes in Indonesia.

But after their visit on Feb. 2, Nigeria's presidential spokesman, Reuben Abati, tweeted several posts contradicting Anang's comment.

“Pres. Jonathan requested for stay of execution of Nigerians on death row in Indonesia while both explore agreement on exchange of prisoners,” Reuben tweeted on his account @abati1990.

“Both Presidents pledged to work together towards attaining a more balanced and mutually beneficial relatnship btw (sic) Nigeria and Indonesia.”

Human rights

A human rights organization told the Jakarta Globe that Adami's execution would not deter other drug-related offenders.

“We need to uphold human rights instead of executing people who took the opportunity from the bad system that allows drug distribution in the country, as well as inside the jail,” said Bhatara Ibnu Reza, the operational director of human rights group Imparsial.

“No pro-death sentence arguments can prove that the death penalty can successfully uphold the law, or have a deterrent effect.”

Bhatara said that the death sentence as ultimate punishment would not result in a moral society, but would instead make the society embrace violence as the only punishment.

“We will become a draconian society,” he said. “Indonesia surely will be condemned by other countries for this.”

In a press conference last year, Marty said the policy of commuting a death sentence for a drug crime is not something that happens just in Indonesia.

"This policy is also practiced in other countries, and Indonesians are among the beneficiaries of such clemency."

Last year, Yudhoyono spoke out against the death penalty, saying that Indonesia was moving against a global push to end capital punishment.

“We must not wrongly punish people,” Yudhoyono said after commuting a death sentence for a convicted drug trafficker to life in prison in October. The move later garnered criticism after the convict, Meirika Franola, was caught allegedly running a drug ring behind bars. Yudhoyono said later that he would review the sentence.

According to data from the AGO, there are 20 inmates on death row in Indonesia whose sentences are final, meaning that all efforts to appeal or seek remission have been denied. Jakarta Globe

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