ASIA / INDONESIA – Abolition of the death penalty: a civil society campaign


ASIA / INDONESIA – Abolition of the death penalty: a civil society campaign

Jakarta (Agenzia Fides) – The campaign for the abolition of the death penalty, launched by civil society and supported by churches and Christian organizations, is intensifying in Indonesia.
Several Indonesian civil society organizations have called on the government to remove the death penalty from the country’s legal system, noting that there is evidence that “this form of legal murder is capable of deterring people from committing crimes.” In addition, according to groups committed to the protection of human rights, there is a high risk of unjust conviction which could deprive even an innocent person of life. However, despite the pandemic, Indonesian justice continues to impose the death penalty (mainly for cases related to drug trafficking) with evidence that is assessed by “teleconference”: this is a system that jeopardize the conduct of the process in a fair and equitable manner. way, organizations detect. According to data collected by the oversight body on “odd” human rights, 129 detainees were sentenced to death between March 2020 and September 2021. There are currently more than 350 detainees on death row in Indonesia, including convicted drug traffickers. for about 60%.
The number of death sentences handed down by Indonesian courts in 2020 increased by 46% from the previous year, according to Amnesty International Indonesia. Indeed, 117 death sentences were pronounced in 2020, against 80 in 2019, as indicated in the latest report on the death penalty published on April 21. According to the NGO, 101 of the 117 death sentences were handed down in drug cases, while the other 16 were found guilty of murder. The theme concerns the Christian Churches in Indonesia: Father Aegidius Eko Aldianto, Executive Secretary of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference, said that “the Catholic Church has expressed its regret for the increase in the number of convictions ”. The Indonesian Catholic Church “has always been attentive to respect for human dignity”, confirms to Agenzia Fides the Jesuit Father Ignatius Ismartono SJ, director of “Sahabat Insan”, an Indonesian Jesuit organization that deals with migrant workers and victims of human trafficking. “I just finished participating in a webinar on this topic, in which the official teaching of the Church on the subject of capital punishment, which is based on the absoluteness of the sacred and the inviolability of human life , has been well recalled. For us, in particular, the main concern concerns the case of migrant workers sentenced to death “. The abolitionist campaign has been underway for months. As early as last June, public opinion research at the University of Oxford indicated that while the majority of Indonesians support the death penalty, support is waning as more is learned about what is happening. Exactly means “‘state murder’, especially when circumstances are shown such as unsecured trials.
Research from the University of Oxford – conducted in 2019-2020 in collaboration with “Universitas Indonesia” and the law firm “LBH Masyarakat” which provides pro bono legal services – shows that the Indonesian public is generally not aware of the death penalty. Out of more than 1,500 people questioned, 69% initially declared themselves in favor of retaining the death penalty, although only 35% declared themselves “strongly” in favor of the death penalty; only 2% consider themselves “very well informed” and only 4% say they are “very concerned” about the issue.
As Professor Carolyn Hoyle of The Death Penalty Research Unit at Oxford University explains, the role of religious leaders is fundamental: almost 40% of supporters of the death penalty agree to change their minds. opinion whether the religious leaders concerned have shown support for its abolition. The last executions in Indonesia took place in July 2016, when four convicted drug traffickers, including foreign nationals, were shot dead. The Indonesian Penal Code provides for the death penalty for a series of crimes such as murder, terrorism, illegal arms and drug trafficking, corruption, aggravated theft, treason, espionage and a series of military offenses. (EG-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 10/18/2021)

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