Another round of executions is soon to become a live TV extravaganza, although the date has yet to be announced.
Fifteen drug traffickers may or may not know about their pending doom, although 150 Mobile Brigade personnel have been practising how to shoot accurately. For the mathematically disadvantaged, that’s ten rifles, one of which will only fire a blank, aimed at each condemned prisoner. The religious clerics who will accompany the convicts, but presumably stand behind the firing squad, have been memorising their useless final words of solace.
Each team also includes two Brimob members responsible for holding up a spotlight on the inmate.(eh?)
What is known is that of the fifteen, ten are foreigners. Philippines national Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso who was belatedly but temporarily reprieved last year is not one of them. There are four Chinese, one Pakistani, two Nigerians, two Senegalese and one Zimbabwean.
Last year’s circus attracted opprobrium from Australia and Brazil because those countries have abolished capital punishment. So will Indonesia embarrass itself once again this year?
Not from China which, with 1000+ executions in 2014 for a variety of crimes, heads the global league table. Nor from Pakistan which executes by hanging for the crimes of murder, drug smuggling, terrorism, rape, unlawful assembly and blasphemy. Nor Nigeria which In 2013 executed four for kidnapping and sodomy.
Senegal, which abolished the death penalty in 2004, may object. However Senegal does not currently have any diplomatic or consular representation in Indonesia, so will have to lodge a complaint at the Indonesian Embassy in Dakar.
Zimbabwe, a de facto abolitionist for not carrying out the death penalty for over 10 years, does have an embassy in Jakarta so may lodge a diplomatic offensive.
A major question to be asked is why two-thirds of those about to meet their doom are foreign nationals when it is thought that ‘only’ half are not Indonesian.
It is almost impossible to determine exactly how many prisoners are on death row and their country of origin. The Attorney General announced immediately after the January 2015 executions that 60 people remain on death row for narcotics, 34 of them foreigners. But the list of nationalities he provided contained obvious errors.
One Indonesian drugs convict not on the list is Freddy Budiman, who was found guilty of smuggling 1.4 million ecstasy pills from China to Indonesia in 2012. The attorney general said that his case was undergoing review, and then stated the bleeding obvious.
“We will wait for a decision. If his case review is accepted after he is executed, we won’t be able to bring him back from death,” he added.
In March, another Indonesian on death row on Nusakambangan Island cheated the firing squad by dying. In 2012, the Supreme Court sentenced Hartoni … and his fellow convict at the narcotics prison, Syafrudin, for drug trafficking. At the time, the two convicts were serving sentences of 20 years in prison for drug crimes.
In March this year, Hartoni, 56, reportedly died. Authorities said he died after he fell into a toilet at the prison.
Eh? Was he a little guy or was the toilet an access point to an escape tunnel?
The article in the paper edition of the Jakarta Post I quoted from in my opening paragraph is longer, and closes with the following nonsensical statement from the Attorney General M. Prasetyo.
[He] has insisted that no matter what the government would carry out executions despite assertions that capital punishment does not deter drug traffickers.
“Although we have conducted executions twice, drug cases continue in the country; imagine if we don’t carry them out.”
Erm … the circus in my title is becoming a farce.
A Brimob practice session?