Indonesian President Joko Widodo has signed a decree okaying chemical castration for convicted child sex offenders. In addition to chemical castration, convicted pedophiles who are paroled will be required to wear electronic monitoring bracelets. The bold move against pedophiles came in response to a brutal crime that left Indonesian residents shocked and furious, reports the New York Times.
In April, a 14-year-old Indonesian girl was gang raped and murdered on Sumatra. In all, seven teenage boys were convicted for her rape and murder. Their punishment? Ten years in prison. Indonesian citizens were outraged at the leniency and demanded changes to child sex offense laws. In years past, Indonesian citizens had publicly called for chemical castration for convicted pedophiles, and following the brutal rape and murder of the 14-year-old girl, the old demands were heeded.
On May 25, the Indonesian president signed into law changes to a 2002 law which would allow judges to be more severe in their punishment of child sex offenders. Ultimately, child sex offenders will be sentenced to chemical castration at the discretion of specific judges.
“The inclusion of such an amendment will provide space for the judge to decide severe punishments as a deterrent effect on perpetrators. These crimes have undermined the development of children, and these crimes have disturbed our sense of peace, security and public order. So, we will handle it in an extraordinary way.”
According to the Indonesian president, this new decree allowing for chemical castration of convicted pedophiles comes at a time that “sexual violence against children has increased significantly” in the island nation. President Joko didn’t provide government data to buttress his claims, however. In addition to allowing for the chemical castration of convicted child sex offenders, the Indonesian President’s new decree increases the maximum prison sentence for convicted pedophiles from ten years to 20 years.
According to a local Indonesian media outlet, the nation’s National Commission on Violence Against Women says that roughly 35 Indonesian women are sexually victimized every single day.
Indonesia isn’t the first country to utilize chemical castration as a punishment for convicted child sex offenders. The United States, Russia, Australia, South Korea, and Russia already use chemical castration to punish at least some convicted pedophiles and other sex offenders. In many instances, chemical castration is accompanied by a lighter prison sentence.
Chemical castration, in theory, reduces sex drive using drugs. However, many experts remain unconvinced that it’s an effective deterrent for pedophiles and other sex offenders. One such expert is Heather Barr of Human Rights Watch, who weighed in on the situation.
“Chemical castration risks offering a false solution, and a simple one, to what is inevitably a complex and difficult problem.”
According to Ms. Barr, chemical castration should be used as part of a comprehensive treatment program for pedophiles and other sex offenders, not as a punishment.
Not everyone agrees with Barr’s assessment, however. Especially considering that Indonesia has become one of the world’s top destinations for “child sex tourists.” When the news of the Indonesian president’s new decree broke, it became a trending topic on social media.
@ChannelNewsAsia Scary deterrent technique. How about those HAZE "makers"?— Iam Baba (@twosheylive) May 26, 2016
Chemical castration? Did the Indonesian President took that one out of the Third Reich's handbook on punishment?— Lord Denning II (@JmoulFrancis) May 26, 2016
As the Sydney Morning Herald reports, the Indonesian president’s chemical castration decree goes into effect immediately, and under the new law, chemically castrated pedophiles might be among the lucky ones. That’s because the new Indonesian law also gives Indonesian judges the authority to impose death sentences on convicted child sex offenders.
“(This) will give room for judges to issue the heaviest sentence on perpetrators of sexual offences on children. We hope this regulation will provide a deterrent effect… and bring down the number of sexual offences committed against children.”
The United States has considered the death penalty for convicted pedophiles in the past, but it has been repeatedly rejected out of fear that such a harsh penalty may influence more child sex offenders to kill their victims so that they can’t be witnesses against them.
What do you think? Did Indonesia’s president do the right thing with his new decree? Or did the Indonesian president go too far by allowing for the chemical castration and potentially even the death of convicted child sex offenders?
[Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images]