Indonesia: Firing Squad Executions Expected To Go Forward Despite Protests

An Indonesian firing squad is prepared to execute 10 prisoners who were charged and convicted of various drug-related crimes. Although international law limits the use of capital punishment, Indonesian President Joko Widodo has denied all appeals for clemency.

As reported by the Guardian, one of the prisoners is a citizen of Indonesia. However, the other nine are citizens of other countries.

Andrew Chan, 31, and Myuran Sukumaran, 34, are Australian. In 2005, Chan, Sukumaran, and seven others were accused of conspiring to smuggle heroin out of Indonesia.

The accused smugglers, who were nicknamed the “Bali Nine,” were each convicted of the crime. Although the other seven were sentenced to life in prison, Chan and Sukumaran were sentenced to death by an Indonesian firing squad.

Mary Jane Veloso, 30, is a Philippine citizen. In 2010, the single mother was arrested and charged with attempting to smuggle heroin into Indonesia. Although she was convicted, and sentenced to death, Veloso vehemently denies the charges.

As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, the prisoners facing execution also include citizens of Brazil, France, Ghana, and Nigeria.

Although numerous appeals were filed on behalf of all 10 inmates, President Joko Widodo has not halted the planned executions. In previous interviews, Widodo said Indonesia is facing a “drug emergency.” Therefore, he believes execution by firing squad is an appropriate punishment for the crimes.

As explained by the International Bar Association, the death penalty is not prohibited under international law. However, there are several provisions.

As stated in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, capital punishment shall only apply to “the most serious crimes.” Under the ICCPR, serious crimes are defined as “international crimes with lethal or other extremely grave consequences.”

In their Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions, The United Nations suggests “that the death penalty should be eliminated for economic crimes, drug-related offenses, victimless offenses, and actions relating to moral values… “

However, several countries have argued that some of the listed offenses, including drug-related crimes, do cause “extremely grave consequences.”

As the Indonesia firing squad is expected to execute the prisoners on Tuesday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon appealed to the Government of Indonesia to “consider declaring a moratorium on capital punishment in Indonesia, with a view toward abolition.”

Although the prisoners were given final notice on Saturday, several appeals are pending. Unfortunately, the Indonesian firing squad executions are expected to proceed as planned.

[Photo by Agung Parameswara/Getty Images]