by – Margaret “I’ll go to my grave opposing the death penalty” Taylor, Activism Manager at Amnesty International
Every step of the way to the firing squad in Indonesia is littered with breaches of human rights.
While affirming that the executions they carry out follow processes that are in line with international law and standards, the merest scratch on the surface of Indonesian justice reveals the brutal truth.
Indonesia executes people who have committed crimes as a child, the mentally unwell and those forced to confess after torture, which is not only in breach of international, but their own domestic law too.
My Irish ancestry and Catholic upbringing guaranteed I’d always be opposed to the death penalty; my engagement with Amnesty International provided the ammunition of facts and figures to back up my loathing of and life-long commitment to end this penalty.
Truly, the only thing deserving of the death penalty IS the death penalty itself. I hope it rots in hell.
Yes, I am raging again and it’s all because of the latest Amnesty International report titled “Flawed justice – unfair trials and the death penalty in Indonesia.”
It’s got all the hallmarks of a typical Amnesty International report – formidably well researched, understated in its presentation of fact after fact that details every aspect of that “flawed justice”, the 262 references for those considering to refute the irrefutable.
So dear reader, and with apologies for so badly misrepresenting Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s sonnet; “How do I love to HATE thee – let me count the ways.” And I’m going to get personal –detailing what Indonesian justice has visited on individuals.
Confessions sought following torture must never be relied on in a court of law, and particularly when the death penalty is a possible outcome.
Pakistan national Zulfiqar Ali was beaten for three days by police before confessing, at which point he was taken to hospital requiring stomach and kidney surgery due to damage caused by those beatings. His confession was admitted as evidence, but the same credence has not been given to his torture allegations.
Police identified Nigerian national Raheem Agbaje Salami as a citizen of the non-existent ‘Republic of Cordova’. Hardly surprising that he had no consular assistance during his arrest and detention. Raheem was executed in April this year despite a legal petition pending.
Brazilian national Rodrigo Gularte was executed alongside Raheem. He had plenty of consular support valiantly proving that he had a long history of mental ill health and was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
You might say Yusman Telaumbanua was born under an unlucky star. His birth date is actually in dispute. The police say at the time of the murders he was found guilty of he was 19; his family and village neighbours say he was 16 years old. Without a birth certificate, illiterate and with his own lawyer calling for a death sentence, Yusman didn’t have a hope in hell of a fair trial.
Nor did Filipina national Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso. Like many foreign nationals, she did not get effective language assistance. Fluent in Tagalog only she received a Bahasa Indonesia-to-English interpreter, who was a college student. Hard to defend yourself when you don’t know what’s going on.
I could go on and on about lack of access to a lawyer of one’s choice, or the right to be brought promptly before a judge, or denial of the right to seek pardon and commutation…….
I won’t, instead I suggest that if Indonesia’s assertions of meeting international law standards were tested in a court of law they would be found to be as flawed as their claims that the death penalty stops crime or drug trafficking.
Read the full report Flawed Justice here – https://www.amnesty.org.nz/indonesia-report-reveals-endemic-judicial-flaws-death-penalty-cases
Take Action on the death penalty – https://www.amnesty.org.nz/stop-mary-janes-execution-firing-squad