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Death Penalty Information

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Indonesia: AG criticised over death penalty
AGO criticized over death penalty

Legal experts have criticized Attorney General Abdul Rahman Saleh over his
rigid stance regarding the implementation of capital punishment in
"Despite progress in the country's legal system, such as the on going
judicial review on the death penalty for drug dealers in the 1997
Narcotics Law, the Attorney General has not yet been able to escape from
his legalistic and normative views on capital punishment," the Operational
Director of the Indonesian Human Rights Monitor Imparsial, Rusdi Marpaung,
told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.
"Regarding drug trafficking, for example, the government cannot solely
rely on deterrence principles to handle such a crime.
"There are other problems that need attention, such as monitoring the
abuse of addictive substances and the involvement of government officials
in drug trafficking," he said.
Rusdi was commenting on a statement by the Attorney General on Friday that
the government would continue implementing the death penalty in criminal
cases, including for drug abuse and trafficking.
"Capital punishment in our legal system has been adopted from the old
Dutch legal system during the colonial period. Holland itself abolished
the implementation of the death penalty over 50 years ago," he said.
According to Rusdi, the United Nations has reported that there is no
evidence to suggest that the death penalty is an effective deterrence
towards crime.
The Executive Director for the Center for Indonesian Law and Policy
Studies, Bivitri Susanti, also said capital punishment was ineffective in
preventing crime.
"Its deterrence effect has been proven ineffective, especially when court
verdicts have turned out to be wrongly implemented ... And the death
penalty itself violates basic principles of human rights, no matter what
the case is," Bivitri told the Post
"It would be better for the government to make sure the jail terms imposed
on prisoners are fully implemented," she said, citing that many inmates in
Indonesia had managed to walk out of prison before completing their jail
Rusdi agreed, saying the United States hands down maximum jail terms of up
to 200 years.
"That way, American prisoners still naturally die in prison, but not
because of the death penalty."
Bivitri said it was not necessary for Indonesia to remove capital
punishment from its legal system as some countries have done.
"As in other countries, Indonesia could still retain capital punishment in
its legal system, but only on the condition that the judges selectively
impose the sentence on convicts," she said.
Besides the narcotics law, other laws including the death penalty are the
Criminal Code, the Anticorruption Law, the Antiterrorism Law, the Law on
the possession of firearms and explosives, the Law on subversive
activities and the 2000 Law on the Human Rights Court.
According to Rusdi, about 60 laws in Indonesia's legal system apply
capital punishment, including new laws such as the State Secrecy Bill.
(source: The Jakarta Post)
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