On Wednesday, Indonesia’s attorney general reportedly said that the country planned on executing at least two foreign convicts this year.
As I have written previously, numerous reports have surfaced over the past few months about the specifics of Indonesia’s plans to carry out its third round of controversial executions of foreign drug convicts on death row under President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo (See: “Indonesia to Execute 10 Foreigners in War on Drugs”).
As I noted then, the executions would the first since eight drug convicts – five of them foreign – were executed in April 2015, a move which roiled relations between Jakarta and other countries and led Australia to temporarily withdraw its ambassador. An earlier round of executions occurred in January last year. In spite of the international outcry, Jokowi has insisted that the “shock therapy” approach is needed to resolve Indonesia’s drug crisis. The Indonesian government has said 4.5 million Indonesians need rehabilitation and 40 to 50 young people die each day due to drug use – statistics which skeptics have questioned.
Last month, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office had said that Indonesia planned to execute 16 prisoners in July following the month of Ramadan and 30 in 2017. He said that 152 people were on death row in the country and that drug traffickers would be prioritized for executions, but provided few details.
On Wednesday, Indonesia’s Attorney General H.M. Prasetyo responded to a question about whether foreigners were on the list of convicts to be executed by saying that among those on the list were those from Nigeria and Zimbabwe.
“We have foreigners, among them from Nigeria and Zimbabwe,” he said. He did not elaborate on the crimes for which they were convicted. He also said that no convicts from the United States, Europe, or Australia were on the list to be executed this year.
If so, this is not really news. In May, The Jakarta Post reported that Central Java Police spokesman Sr. Comr. A. Liliek Darmanto said that ten foreign citizens, along with five Indonesians, would face the firing squad at the Nusakambangan prison island off the southern coast of Central Java. The ten include four Chinese, one Pakistani, two Nigerians, two Senegalese, and one Zimbabwean. Prasetyo’s comments are consistent with this.
That said, true confirmation will only come once officials disclose the specific dates of the executions as well as the names of the inmates. Under Indonesian law, the government must give 72 hours of notice before carrying out executions. Indonesian officials have also suggested that a press conference would also be held before they occur.