Indonesia: Imminent executions must be stopped

The authorities in Indonesia must immediately halt the execution of three men, expected imminently, Amnesty International said today.

According to the Attorney General’s Office three men; Suryadi Swabuana, Jurit bin Abdullah and Ibrahim bin Ujang, are set to be executed this month and there are indications the executions could be carried out as soon as this evening.

The three men are now being held in isolation cells in the Nusakambangan island prison in Central Java, where they are due to be executed by firing squad.

The imminent executions have renewed fears for British woman Lindsay Sandiford, sentenced to death in January.

Papang Hidayat Amnesty International Indonesia Researcher said:

“These executions in Indonesia must be stopped. They call into question many of the human rights reforms and commitments made by the Indonesian government in recent years.

“Where it seemed that President Yudhoyono, who is due to step down next year, would leave a positive legacy relating to human rights, the opposite now appears to be the case.”

There is no clear indication why Indonesia recently resumed executions after a four year hiatus. On 14 March, Malawian national Adami Wilson, 48, was put to death for drug-trafficking.

At least 130 people are currently under sentence of death in Indonesia – more than half of them have been convicted of drug trafficking. Many are foreign nationals, including 56-year-old British woman, Lindsay Sandiford, who was sentenced to death by firing squad for drug trafficking offences on 22 January

The resumption of executions is in stark contradiction to past statements and action taken by government officials. In October last year President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono commuted the death sentence of a drug trafficker. The Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said the move was part of a wider push away from the use of the death penalty.

It also runs contrary to Indonesia’s efforts to seek commutations for its nationals on death row overseas, in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Malaysia.

Suryadi Swabuana was convicted and sentenced to death in 1992 for the murder of a family in South Sumatra province. His clemency application was rejected in 2003. Jurit bin Abdullah and Ibrahim bin Ujang were convicted and sentenced to death in 1998 for murder in Musi Banyuasin district, South Sumatra province.

According to their lawyers, Jurit and Ibrahim re-filed clemency applications in 2006 and 2008 respectively, but have not received a reply from the President.

In March, after the execution of Adami Wilson, the Attorney General announced plans to execute at least nine other people by the end of the year.

The authorities did not reveal the names of the nine or indicate the date of the executions.

Death sentences in Indonesia are carried out by firing squad. The prisoner has the choice of standing or sitting, and can decide whether to have their eyes covered by a blindfold or hood. Firing squads are made up of 12 people, three of whose rifles are loaded with live ammunition, while the other nine are loaded with blanks. The squad fires from a distance of between five and ten metres.

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