JAKARTA – Four people convicted of drug trafficking were executed in Indonesia on July 29 by the Indonesian Government. The four convicts were shot by a firing squad at the Nusa Kambangan penal island.

The four people executed consist of one Indonesian and three Nigerians and are four of the 14 people convicted of drug crimes. It has not yet been decided when the other 10 convicts will be executed.

The Indonesian Deputy Attorney General, Noor Rachmad said: “It was not a pleasant thing to do but it was to implement the law” and clarified further saying that “The executions are… aimed at stopping drug crimes.”

Indonesia has a strict policy against drug crimes and is one of the 33 countries in the world where the death penalty is used to punish drug related crimes.

The Indonesian Government justifies the use of the death penalty by stating that it is a necessary measure to fight off the drug problem as the nation is heavily contaminated by the issue and as it has a strongly negative influence on its young population.

Furthermore, Aramantha Nasir, Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry spokesman emphasised the fact that Indonesia was not violating any international crimes saying: “For Indonesia, the death penalty is a positive law that is still effective here, and it’s not against human rights under the context of the 1945 constitution,” and that “The action that Indonesia takes now is just about law implementation and enforcement. Just like how Indonesia respects the law of other nations, we hope all countries will respect Indonesian law.”

However, Amnesty International refuted Indonesia’s justification explaining that the executions were clear cases of violation of international law. Other international organisations such as the European Union and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights also criticised the Indonesian Government and called for immediate suspension of executions.

This controversy between the Indonesian Government and various international organizations were further fueled when the legal team of one of the condemned Nigerians, Humphrey Jefferson Ejike argued that their client was tortured and did not receive a fair trial and thus was unlawfully sacrificed.

It has yet to be seen how Indonesia will respond to the situation and the eyes will be on Jakarta to see how they will deal with the remaining 10 prisoners.

– Je Seung Lee, Correspondent (Asia: Far East)