ADPAN(Anti Death Penalty Asia Network) is perturbed by Indonesia’s recent introduction of death penalty and chemical castration to sex offenders.
On 25/5/2016, President Joko Widodo signed a decree introducing the tougher punishments for child sex offenders, including the death penalty and chemical castration. The death penalty can now be handed down to child rapists where the victim has died or suffered serious mental or physical injury, while chemical castration can be used in cases of repeat child sex offenders. (AFP – AlJazeera, 26/5/2016)
This seems to be a knee-jerk reaction to the case of a 14-year-old girl who was snatched by a group of drunken men and boys on western Sumatra island in April and was found days later in woods, tied up and naked.
ADPAN believes that punishment need to be meted out to the guilty, but definitely not the death penalty.
Several studies have also warned against focusing solely on punitive action as the solution to sex offences, rather proposing parent-focused child sex abuse prevention (Mendelson & Letourneau. 2015), involving men and boys as allies against sexual violence (Walsh. 2015), mechanisms to identify persons who are attracted to pre-pubescent girls (Beier et al. 2016) and introducing school-based sexuality education at an early age, containing modules addressing inappropriate touching and rape culture. (Coleman et al. 2015) The death penalty will not prevent rapes.
If deterrence is Indonesia’s objective for the introduction of the death penalty, it must be pointed out that there is no credible evidence to suggest that the death penalty is a deterrent. The Death Penalty Information Center points to higher murder rates in states that have the death penalty as proof the sentencing threat does not deter crime.
There is also concern that when death penalty is imposed for crimes that do not usually result in death of victims, as would apply to sex offences, there is a real risk that the death penalty would encourage the offender to murder the victim to destroy the evidence against him/her.
Therefore, ADPAN urges Indonesia to reconsider and abolish the death penalty for sex offenders.
ADPAN also calls on Indonesia to abolish the new punishment of ‘chemical castration’ for sex offenders.
ADPAN further calls on Indonesia to abolish the Death Penalty, and impose an immediate moratorium on executions pending abolitions.
For and on behalf of
ADPAN (Anti Death Penalty Asia Network)