Jakarta. The Archbishop of Jakarta criticized President Joko Widodo’s policy on executing drug traffickers on Thursday, saying no-one had the right to take a person’s life.
“Nobody has the right on anyone else’s life,” Archbishop Mgr. Ignatius Suharyo said, as quoted by news portal Tempo.co. “Church teachings don’t allow for the death penalty.”
Indonesian law allows for the death penalty in the event of a conviction for a range of crimes, including murder, sedition, aggravated robbery, terrorism and drug trafficking. The sentence is carried out by firing squad.
Many in human rights circles had hoped that Joko’s image as a reformer would extend to him changing Indonesia’s position on the death penalty. But during a speech at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta earlier this month, Joko ruled out awarding clemency to convicted drug traffickers.
Joko said some 40 to 50 drug users died in Indonesia every day, and that the government needed to send a firm, zero-tolerance message.
Indonesia’s largest Islamic organization gave Joko its seal of approval on Dec. 24.
“We support the death penalty for the drug dealers and producers, but not the consumers,” said Said Aqil Siradj, chairman of the central board of NU.
Archbishop Ignatius emphasized that the policy was morally wrong and its effectiveness as a deterrent was not backed up by evidence.
“The theory saying that the death penalty has a deterrent effect has not been proved at all,” he said. “The death penalty doesn’t reflect justice.”
According to data from the Attorney General’s Office, there are 136 inmates currently facing the death penalty, 64 of whom have been convicted of drug trafficking.
|President Joko Widodo previously said he would not offer clemency|
to convicted drug traffickers. (Reuters Photo/Damir Sagolj)