Thursday, 24 July 2008

Execute corrupt officials: Indonesia's speaker

The Speaker of Indonesia's House of Representatives this week supported the use of the death penalty for corruption offences, despite the global trend towards abolishing it for economic crimes.

Agung Laksono encouraged other members of the House to support the suggestion, claiming it would help prevent the serious social consequences of corruption, according to the Antara newsagency.

"Therefore, there must be legal punishment for corrupters so severe that it will also have a deterrent effect," he said on Wednesday.

He claimed the use of severe penalties such as capital punishment had caused drastic declines in corruption in some countries, although he was not reported as offering any evidence to support the statement.

"This means, the death penalty is an effective means to fight corruption," he said.

"I hope the idea of making corruption punishable by the death sentence will be responded to favourably by House members and the government."

The Jakarta Post reported today that some parliamentarians and anti-corruption activists supported the proposal.

It said in the past six months the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) had arrested six current parliamentarians and scores of high-ranking officials, including a former governor of the Bank of Indonesia.

Governors and former ministers had been jailed for graft since the KPK was formed in 2004.

"I think we must be tough on extraordinary corruption," KPK deputy chairman for prevention Haryono Umar said.

The newspaper said President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had encouraged public discussion of the death penalty for those convicted of corruption.

'Not serious enough'
The proposal would violate international law, which requires that -- where it is used -- the death penalty should be restricted to the "most serious" crimes.

United Nations human rights experts have argued that this means it should be reserved for "cases where it can be shown that there was an intention to kill which resulted in the loss of life".

Field of death
The latest discussion comes amid reports that Indonesia is continuing preparations to execute the three Bali bombers.

Antara reported on the same day that two prosecutors from Bali had inspected the site where it was planned to execute the men.

The representatives from the Bali Higher Public Prosecutor's Office visited a field on Nusakambangan Island, off Central Java's southern coast, where the men will be shot by firing squad.

Related stories:
Indonesia: Record number executed in four weeks -- 20 July, 2008
Bali executions will inspire martyrs: expert -- 25 February, 2008
Bali bombers may soon get their wish -- 10 November, 2007
Executions in Indonesia since 1995 -- 26 September, 2006

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