Death Row Phenomenon in Indonesia

To push the belief of “death penalty is torture” be adopted as an international norm so that it should be abolished, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment (2010 – 2016), Juan Mendez, called for a more comprehensive study on the relationship between death penalty and torture. As of today, the death penalty is still being argued as a violation of a protection from torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment or punishment, however, the practices and findings found during the prolonged waiting period which subjected to death row phenomenon proved different. If execution is a form of torture, the death penalty must be abolished immediately. It is important to contribute a study on the use of the death penalty in Indonesia and allegations of violation of the protection from torture, not only in the execution but also during the prolonged delays.

Even though Indonesia is currently in a de facto moratorium on executions, it is necessary to study whether Indonesia respects the right to freedom from torture for death row prisoners. Although few States, including Indonesia, still use the death penalty as a form of punishment, protection against torture is absolute, non-derogable, referring to the applicable international legal instruments and Indonesia 1945 Constitution.

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