Many death penalty cases flawed: ICJR

The Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR) on Sunday released a study on 42 death sentences — in drug and premeditated murder cases — handed down from 2002 to 2013, some of which it said were the result of unfair judicial processes.

The study is based on death sentences handed down by district courts, state courts and the Supreme Court.

ICJR executive director Supriyadi Eddyono said that of the 42 sentences, there were 11 cases in which law enforcement officers allegedly committed intimidation and torture.

“This not only happened to the perpetrators, but also to witnesses,” Supriyadi said on Monday during a discussion on Indonesia’s judicial system and the death penalty in Jakarta, adding that the alleged abuses were aimed at facilitating evidence.

He further said that in 11 of the cases examined the defendants did not appear to have proper access to legal assistance.

The study also showed that Indonesian citizens made up 70 percent of the 42 death sentences, while 13 foreign nationals had received death sentences.

“Foreign convicts dominate the cases related to drugs, accounting for 60 percent of the total such cases,” Supriyadi said.

He added that three sentences were handed down to convicts who were aged 19 when they committed the criminal offenses.

Wahyudi Djafar, a researcher with the Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM), said that the lack of effective trial monitoring, the length of the detention period prior to trial and the poor case-appeal mechanism had paved the way for wrongful convictions.

“In many cases, wrongful convictions are unavoidable in this country’s criminal judicial process,” he said.

Based on the study, death sentences were mostly handed down by courts in West Java with 11 such verdicts, followed by those in Jakarta with six verdicts, Bali with five, North Sumatra four, and Banten and East Java each with three death sentences.

Indonesia has come in for criticism from the international community for executing six drug traffickers, five of whom were foreign nationals, earlier this year. It has plans to execute another 10 convicts, pending legal moves by the convicts through case reviews.

The government’s firm stance on executing drug traffickers has caused diplomatic rows with several countries including Brazil and Australia.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff rejected the letter of credentials from Indonesian ambassador-designate Toto Riyanto in protest at the execution of one of its citizens, Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira, the first Brazilian national to be executed abroad.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott also came to the defense of two Australian drug traffickers awaiting execution, saying President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo should provide clemency to the two considering Australia’s support for Aceh during the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004.

The Indonesian government has so far maintained the executions plan, on the basis of the alleged devastating impact of narcotics on the nation’s youth.

Sumber: The Jakarta Post

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