Sunday, 29 June 2008

Indonesia: Drug offenders executed, more to come

Indonesia shot two Nigerian men for drug offences late on Thursday night, and drug officials hope more executions will soon be carried out.

Samuel Iwachekawu Okoye and Hansen Anthony Nwaoysa were executed before midnight on Thursday (26 June) on Nusakambangan prison island, off the coast of central Java.

According to a Reuters report, the head of the Central Java mobile brigade police, Dicky Atotoy, said the two Nigerians were tied to two wooden poles with their heads covered, and shot by two teams of police snipers.

"The doctor declared the two convicts dead at 00.00 following the firing squads' duty to execute them," Atatoy said.

Reuters said Indonesian prosecutors were also now preparing to execute the three men sentenced to death for their role in the October 2002 Bali bombings, which killed 202 people.

AAP reported that 40 year-old Nwaoysa was sentenced to death for attempting to smuggle 600 grams of heroin in 43 capsules, which he swallowed before flying from Pakistan to Jakarta in January 2001. (AAP story also here.)

The report said Okoye was caught at Jakarta airport with 3.8 kilograms of heroin hidden in the lining of his luggage after flying in from India. He said he was to pass it on to an Australian by the name of "Ron".

The two were sentenced to death in 2001 and their final appeals for clemency were rejected in July 2004.

More drug executions to come?
The head of Indonesia's leading anti-drugs body said in a speech during the day on Thursday that drug offenders should be executed more quickly.

"To give them a lesson, drug traffickers must be executed immediately," said General Sutanto, who is the National Police Chief and Chairman of the National Anti-Narcotic Body (BNN).

"For this purpose, BNN is coordinating closely with the Attorney General`s Office as the agency responsible for carrying out executions," he told a function at the State Palace for the International Day against Drugs Abuse and Trafficking.

He said prison didn't deter drug traffickers, and claimed international drug syndicates were being run from jails.

Attorney General Hendarman Supandji reportedly said at the same function his office would speed up the execution of the 57 drug offenders on death row.

Move towards greater secrecy
Before the latest executions, comments by one government minister reported by the Antara newsagency suggested Indonesia was planning to carry out the executions in secret to prevent any public protests.

"The date of the execution is not to be made public to prevent public controversy," said Monang Pardede, assistant deputy to the General Crimes chief of the Central Java higher prosecutor's office, on Tuesday.

He reportedly said the executions would not be publicised until after they were carried out, in order to prevent what Antara described as "undue public reactions".

"We are afraid we will face difficulties if they are announced beforehand," he said.

These comments are a worrying sign that Indonesia may be moving towards the secrecy that stifles open and informed debate across much of Asia about the use of the death penalty.

No to drugs, no to drug executions
Amnesty International condemned the use of the death penalty for drug-related offences.

"Experts in international law, including the top UN officials, have confirmed that applying the death penalty for drug-related offences is a breach of international law," a spokesperson for the organisation said.

The last executions for drug offences in Indonesia were carried out in October 2004, when two Thai nationals were shot for attempting to smuggle 12.19 kilograms of heroin into Indonesia.

Their co-accused, a 65 year-old Indian man, was executed in August of the same year.

Related stories:
Drug penalty violates international law -- 06 May 2007
Executions in Indonesia since 1995 -- 26 September 2006

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