Four Chinese in line as executions loom

The Jakarta Post – As public concern about the government’s next round of executions grows, the Supreme Court has announced that four Chinese nationals are among those on death row.

The ruling, which was published on the court’s website on Wednesday, was the rejection of a case review filed by four Chinese nationals Chen Hongxin, Jian Yuxin, Gan Chunyi and Zhu Xuxiong.

The four were sentenced to death by a Supreme Court cassation panel in mid 2007, along with another Chinese national, Zhang Manquan.

The five Chinese nationals were found guilty of drug trafficking following a 2005 police raid on what was dubbed at the time as Southeast Asia’s largest illicit drug-manufacturing factory in Banten, along with Frenchman Serge Areski
Atlaoui.

Atlaoui who escaped execution in April last year pending an appeal process, is also back on the list after his plea was rejected by the Jakarta State Administrative Court.

Although the government has announced that the third round of executions is on the way, the schedule and list of those to be executed is not yet available, causing anxiety among inmates, their lawyers as well as anti-death penalty campaigners.

It is also not clear whether the five Chinese are on the list for the planned third round of executions.

Speculation is rife that the government will execute 14 drug trafficking convicts sometime this year.

But, the plan is yet to be confirmed by any government official, although some have made public statements that emphasized the government’s strong conviction that killing drug traffickers was the best way to eradicate drug-related crime.

“There has never been any explanation about how the government comes up with the death-row list. How the government grants clemency to some, but not others. The process must be clear,” said activist Poengky Indarti of human rights watchdog Imparsial.

Indonesia’s execution of 14 convicts in two rounds last year — consisting of Indonesians and foreigners, including those from Australia and Brazil — has sparked criticism from domestic and international human rights campaigners and world leaders, with the latest coming from German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Azas Tigor Nainggolan, a member of the legal division of the Indonesian Bishops Conference ( KWI ), called for a moratorium on the death penalty, saying that “since legal proceedings are prone to miscarriages of justice, Jokowi should form a team to review all cases related to the death penalty to ensure they have undergone a fair legal process”.

Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo said recently that his office would not stop executing death-row drug convicts, while Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan has expressed support for the plan.

Critics say that such an on-and-off policy only creates uncertainty and that imposing capital punishment on drug dealers is not a deterrent, since it is against the principles of restorative justice.

Prasetyo said he could not give details of the plan as it might interfere with preparations for the executions. He also lamented the fact that case review petitions were often used by convicts to dodge executions. “In the future, we want there to be no legal loophole that can make our task difficult,” he added.

Prasetyo also dismissed concerns that the lack of transparency could be misused by certain parties to extract payment for efforts to secure convicts’ clemency. “It is illogical. We don’t have the authority to grant clemency,” he said.

On Thursday, Luhut refused to comment on the planned executions, claiming that he had yet to receive information about the Chinese nationals.

(Ina Parlina, Margareth S. Aritonang and Nurul Fitri Ramadhani)

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