Editorial: Acting in the Best Interests of Indonesia

APRIL 28, 2015

Judging from the statement by the Attorney General’s Office, the nine drug convicts on death row may be dead by now or may still be alive as Indonesia continues to defy calls from human right activists and the international community.

Within this slim window of chance, people with a conscience can’t give up on the nine people waiting for the firing squad. We have to keep the faith and hope alive. We call on President Joko Widodo to change his stance, considering the impact that Indonesia will receive if the authorities proceed with the death penalty.

What is the use of executing people for Indonesia? It will create much more harm than good.

The fact is that executing has nothing to do with drug eradication. Before carrying out the death penalty, we must fix our law enforcement agencies, and the prison and judiciary systems. We have to make sure first that these systems will allow us to arrive at the correct ruling. Without certainty that our system has minimum flaws, we can’t execute people.

With regards to the planned executions, we doubt that such action is really aimed at creating deterrence. We are afraid that it was born out of political strategy of people surrounding Joko, and the president might be only a victim of his aides who provided him with false data and arguments.

Joko has made statements that prevent him from changing his stance. He publicly stated that he would not grant clemency to drug offenders. Thus, he had already made a decision before reviewing each case. This was a mistake, and backpedaling may be in the best interest of Joko and the nation.

Joko must delay the execution until he reviews each case. There is no shame in accepting and correcting one’s mistake. This is not a sign of weakness. Rather, it is a sign of greatness. This is wisdom that will put him as a great leader.