Sunday, 7 November 2010

Indonesia: No deterrence, more arrests

Dealing Out Death to the Indonesian Drug Dealers
By Ulma Haryanto, Heru Andriyanto, Made Arya Kencana & Arientha Primanita
November 07, 2010
From: Jakarta Globe

Jakarta. Does the death penalty truly deter drug couriers and traffickers? Both criminologists and the National Narcotics Agency said no, even as Indonesian airport authorities on Sunday announced yet another arrest of a woman attempting to smuggle crystal methamphetamine into the country by stuffing packets of the drug into her vagina.

Indonesian jails, Jakarta Police Chief Insp. Gen. Sutarman said on Friday, are heaving from the growing population of drug users, couriers and traffickers, and the country continues to pay a very costly price as jail wardens and police fail to stop convicts from managing to run drug businesses from behind Indonesian jails, via cellphones.

"Traffickers should really be put to death. Even the threat of a death sentence is actually no deterrent," Sutarman had said.

Criminologist Muhammad Irvan Olii agreed that the death penalty is not something that strikes fear into the hearts of traffickers and producers, considering it hardly affects the international drug trade.

"If a dealer or trafficker is sentenced to death, he or she is simply replaced," Irvan told the Jakarta Globe.

Criminologist Erlangga Masdiana agreed with Irvan.

"Issuing the death penalty is related to the legal philosophy behind the sentence. When someone has caused tremendous damage to society, a lesser sentence than death is deemed not enough, but this has nothing to do with curbing the growth of international drug syndicates," Erlangga said.

"Because when you are really poor, becoming a drug mule is an option many people will consider."

Customs authorities at the Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali announced the arrest of Thai national Jurnporn Ampar, 29, for attempting to smuggle 208 grams of crystal methamphetamine in her vagina.

The drugs were packaged tightly in condoms.

"She seemed so nervous and in such a hurry. A body search revealed the condoms," said Customs official Bagus Endro Wibowo, adding that they had great difficulty attempting to remove the condoms from her body.

"One of them broke inside her, which caused bleeding. She later told us she was paid US$500. Her mother has cancer and the money was for hospital treatment."

Saturday's bust comes two days after Jakarta Police announced the arrest of a veiled Malaysian woman who had also stuffed packets filled with crystal meth into her vagina.

The suspect, Noor Rohman, had managed to get past customs and immigration officers at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, but was arrested at a Central Jakarta hotel.

The National Narcotics Agency, or BNN, said the only way the death penalty for drug crimes in Indonesia could have a deterrent effect was if executions of those on death row were carried out speedily.

BNN spokesman Sumirat Dwiyanto said this was not the case.

Sumirat said just five drug dealers had been executed in 2008, of the 72 sentenced to death.

The last time the Attorney General's Office ordered an execution was in 2008, when 10 inmates were put in front of a firing squad, including three militants convicted for the 2002 bombings in Bali.

He added that a court doling out the death penalty was one matter, but seeing to its actual execution was quite another.

Acting Attorney General Darmono said over the weekend that only one out of 101 inmates on death row had now exhausted all available legal avenues.

However, the inmate's execution was impeded by the convict’s "maneuvering" — seeking a doctor's prescription because he was sick, Darmono said.

“We grant inmates the opportunity to use their legal rights to the fullest, because people cannot die twice.”

According to BNN records, over 28,300 cases of drug abuse were recorded in Indonesia last year, with 35,300 people arrested for those crimes.

And this year, of all people sentenced by the court for drug use, only 20 entered rehabilitation centers.

Sumirat said that most of the suspects arrested were above 30 years of age.

"However, 102 suspects were below the age of 15, while nearly 1,600 of them were between the ages of 16 and 19," he pointed out.

More than half of the death row inmates are convicted drug dealers, a majority of whom are foreigners.

Under Indonesian law, capital punishment applies to such crimes as drug trafficking, terrorism, premeditated murder, treason and, in extraordinary cases, corruption.

A list of drug cases reported just in the last week:
Nov. 7: Bali airport authorities arrest a woman carrying crystal methamphetamine-filled condoms inside her body.

Nov. 5: Jakarta Police seize more than Rp 150 billion ($16.8 million) worth of crystal meth in two separate North Jakarta raids.

Nov. 3: Police in West Java seize two tons of marijuana from a warehouse in Cianjur. Separately, police announced the arrest of two Malaysians for smuggling crystal meth.

Nov. 2: Customs officers at Selaparang-Mataram Airport in West Nusa Tenggara arrest a Malaysian man for possession of Rp 6 billion worth of crystal meth.

Nov. 2: Bogor Police seize 400 kilograms of marijuana from two drug couriers.

Other reported drug smuggling cases:
Sept. 21: Two Chinese nationals arrested at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport for attempting to smuggle in 2,110 grams of crystal meth.

April 8 : Two Malaysian nationals arrested with three kilograms of crystal meth wrapped around their waists.

Jan. 7: Three Nigerians arrested carrying capsules filled with ecstasy, crystal meth and heroin inside their bodies.

Dec. 28, 2009: Two Iranians arrested for attempting to smuggle in crystal meth in capsules they had swallowed.

Nov. 10, 2009: An Iranian arrested at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport after crystal meth discovered hidden inside a prosthetic leg.

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