First Execution in 4 Years a Major Setback for Indonesia: Human Rights Watch

Attorney General Basrief Arief announced on the day of last week’s execution of drug convict Adami Wilson that his office planned to execute nine more convicts this year. (JG Photo/Afriadi Hikmal)

Attorney General Basrief Arief announced on the day of last week’s execution of drug convict Adami Wilson that his office planned to execute nine more convicts this year. (JG Photo/Afriadi Hikmal)

The death of Malawian national Adami Wilson — Indonesia’s first execution in four years — heightens the urgency for the government to end the death penalty, Human Rights Watch said on Friday.

A firing squad executed the 48-year-old in Jakarta on March 15. He was convicted in 2004 of smuggling one kilogram of heroin into Indonesia.

The execution marked an end to Indonesia’s unofficial moratorium on the death penalty since the November 2008 killing of three men convicted for their role in the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings that left 202 people dead.

Attorney General Arief Basrief announced on the day of last week’s execution that his office planned to execute nine more convicts this year. Last year, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono acknowledged the global trend toward abolishing the death penalty, and warned that his government “must not wrongly punish people.”

“The Indonesian government’s execution of Adami Wilson is a senseless end to four years without state killings,” said Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director at HRW. “President Yudhoyono needs to have the courage of his convictions and act to abolish the death penalty.”

Wilson’s execution contradicted the country’s statements on capital punishment at the United Nations, HRW said. In November 2012 at the UN General Assembly, Indonesia stated that “public debate was ongoing, including concerning a possible moratorium… [and] the need for transparent national and international debates, use of the death penalty, and the provision of safeguards.” Indonesia that same month for the first time abstained, rather than opposed, a resolution in favor of a global death penalty moratorium.

Indonesia currently has more than 100 people on death.

HRW opposes the death penalty because of its cruelty and finality.

“Indonesia should immediately stop its renewed and appalling use of the death penalty,” Kine said. “If Indonesia is serious about becoming a leader among Asian nations, it should join the countries that have abolished capital punishment.”