Indonesia’s Brimob police execute eight

29 Apr 2015

TAPOL would like to express deep sorrow at the reprehensible execution of eight people in Indonesia at 00:00 on 29 April 2015. Eight prisoners were executed by a police mobile brigades (Brimob) firing squad at Nusakambangan Prison, Java for alleged drug-related offences. Rodrigo Gularte (Brazil), Okwudili Oyatanaze (Nigeria), Raheem Agbaje Salami (Nigeria), Sylvester Obiekwe (Nigeria), Martin Anderson (Ghana), Zainal Abidin (Indonesia), Andrew Chan (Australia), and Myuran Sukumaran (Australia) are now dead, leaving behind grieving relatives as well as deep rifts in Indonesia’s diplomatic relations.

Among those killed was Rodrigo Gularte, a Brazilian national who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder. The failure of the Supreme Court to grant a judicial review of the order to execute these eight human beings, and President Joko Widodo’s failure to consider appeals for clemency for the eight prisoners is disturbing and seriously undermines Indonesia's professed commitment to human rights. The only reprieve came for Mary Jane Veloso (Philippines), whose execution was temporarily delayed at the last minute, following a request from the Philippines government that Indonesia look into allegations that she was a victim of human trafficking. TAPOL calls on President Joko Widodo to call a halt to this or any further executions and impose an immediate moratorium on the death penalty.

TAPOL stands unequivocally against the death penalty, for any type of crime under any circumstances. In a statement issued last Saturday in response to the executions, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon stated, "Under international law, if the death penalty is to be used at all, it should only be imposed for the most serious crimes, namely those involving intentional killing, and only with appropriate safeguards. Drug-related offenses generally are not considered to fall under the category of “most serious crimes.”

Indonesia's continued use of state-sanctioned killing in spite of a United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) recommendation in 2013 led the UNHRC to downgrade the human rights standard of Indonesia from A to E. Brimob, the unit responsible for carrying out the executions, are the same unit that regularly conducts torture and extrajudicial killings elsewhere in Indonesia.

The executions came on the same day that international solidarity groups and parliamentarians around the world gathered to protest the media blackout in Indonesia’s most secretive region of West Papua. While the killings of eight of the Bali Nine have seen extensive national and international media coverage, the disappearances, murders, arbitrary arrests, rape and torture of Papuans continue under a veil of secrecy due to Indonesia’s de-facto ban on international journalists, humanitarian and human rights organisations in the region. As a result, the fatal shootings of Papuans undertaking peaceful protests often go unseen by the outside world. Protestors in over 20 cities across the globe today demanded that Indonesia open the provinces of Papua and West Papua to the same scrutiny as any other provinces. Read more.