By Feri Rahmat Chandra Piliang*
Latterly public in two countries, Brazil and Indonesia are concerned with the execution of a Brazilian, Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira, a pilot who was captured by Indonesian immigration for smuggling a 13,4 Kg package of heroin in his sport equipment when entering Indonesian territory by airplane. Well, for the state of Brazil this caused a great shock because Mario is the first Brazilian who was ever executed abroad. Moreover, Brazil does not recognize death penalty to punish any sort of crimes.
But before I explain to you the position of Indonesia on death penalty, it is my duty to present to you my country, Indonesia. If we take a look on globe, Indonesia and Brazil are the biggest country in their own region. Clearly, Indonesia and Brazil play important role in their regional geopolitics. Indonesia and Brazil shared a common history and heritage due to Portuguese influences in the society. Although Portuguese never succeed to establish an emporium in Indonesia, their influences are everlasting and could be traced in languages, custom, believe systems, names, and so on. Indonesia and Brazil also lay in equatorial line. We have a huge kilometer of tropical forest, very natural and with great diversity of flora and fauna.
Indonesia and Brazil are also known for their great number of religious believers by religion in the world. As we know Brazil has largest population of Catholics, yet Brazil is a secular state. Likewise in Indonesia but with some differences. We have the largest population of Muslim but it can’t define that Indonesia is an Islamic country. Indonesia is not a secular state and also doesn’t have theocratic government. Indonesia is in between those terms. The State guaranteed freedom to all religious followers to practice their religion and granted them access to state administration due to affiliation to a religion also meant that someone hold an identity. But in the reality, in administratively Indonesia only recognize six official religions: Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Catholicism, Protestantism, and Confucianism. In economic activity, Indonesia almost equals Brazil. And we are facing the same trouble as a developing state: corrupt government, lack of infrastructure, poor sanitation and so on.
In Indonesia pro and cons against death penalty is such as an eternal discussion. Some of us agree with the execution, and another reject the idea regarding the humanity and moral values. Well, in the reality the state of Indonesia do recognize death penalty for some reasons. At least there are 13 crimes that is punishable by death penalty such as offenses resulting in death, terrorism-related offenses resulting in death, terrorism-related offenses not resulting in death, robbery not resulting in death, drug trafficking not resulting in death, drug possession, economic crimes not resulting in death, treason, espionage, military offenses not resulting in death, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, other offenses not resulting in death. I know this is long list of crimes but Indonesia never had a mandatory to punish these committed crimes a death sentence. No! Death penalty is imposed in Indonesia under court’s authority and restriction.
A suspect sentenced to death penalty would pass through winding mechanism, and it takes several years before the real execution. The President has his own prerogative right to determine whether the suspect should be punished by death penalty, or not by granting suspect his amnesty and it is pure political will. Yudhono’s presidency are less rigid. He has a good vision of international cooperation in peace, and death sentence for him will hamper it. This is contrary in Widodo’s presidency. He puts national interest ahead. For him, a country should serve its citizens not to please another country. However in 2014, we counted 64 suspect under sentence of death, 27 suspects are Indonesian citizens and also there are 2 Brazilians on the list.
Now, is it necessary for Indonesia to carry out death penalty? Yes! But we always take notice on what kind of crimes. Indonesia nowadays is facing great calamity which is caused by narcotics. In December 2014, the National Narcotics Agency of the Republic of Indonesia published their end-year press release. In 2014, NNA uncovered 397 cases of drug syndicate and caught 583 suspects: 552 Indonesian citizens and 31 foreigners. The agency also succeed to seize 447.513,335 g methamphetamine; 7.894,9 g heroin; 8.417.329,959 g marijuana; 60 poppy straws; 102 g marijuana seeds ; 37.277 pills and 6.000 g ecstasy; 2 pills happy five; 80.000 pills double LL; 19.253 ml precursor liquid; and 1,9 gram of ephedrine powder. There is also the crime of money laundering in amount of IDR 77.584.753.378 IDR (6,176,064.46 USD) and in assets 32.276.000.000 IDR (2,569,301.93 USD). Clearly it’s proof that Indonesia is still heaven for drug mafia. But, the syndicates are in international network. At least we are fighting the syndicate from China (mainly for methamphetamine), Iran, West Africa, and Malaysia.
I am fully aware that the implementation of death penalty is crucial and bears many controversies. It could be seen in different views. Those who condemn the implementation because for the sake of politics, they should contemplate their self. It’s true that in international community every state’s action should be reciprocal. If America charges visa 135 USD for Brazilian to enter American territory, so Brazilian do. It is a matter of sovereignty. But if we take a look how harmful the syndicate to society, so death penalty will be just. Death penalty in Indonesia for drug crimes is to aim the actors and their accomplices. We are trying our best to protect our nation by cut and to burning it down the distribution, simply because misuse of narcotics bear many miseries and death to our beloved ones and also give rise to other crimes. In Indonesia, there is 4,2 million drug addicts and 22% of them are teenagers. Of course, I do not deny that Indonesian citizens abroad are safe from death penalty for drugs syndicate. It is counted that 135 Indonesian citizens are facing death penalty abroad, whom 118 of those in Malaysia and the rest in China.
Last but not least, we hope this even would not bring such a harm to our two countries bilateral relationships. Indonesia and Brazil despite of distances and different customs, will always stand each other in advancing our nation’s and participate in creating a world of peace under the principes of freedom and equity.
Death Penalty World Wide: Indonesia http://www.deathpenaltyworldwide.org/country- search-post.cfm?country=Indonesia
- Indonesia faces worsening drug problem: Report http://khabarsoutheastasia.com/en_GB/articles/apwi/articles/features/2013/04/09/feat ure-03
- Indonesia’s growing drug problem http://www.asiasentinel.com/society/indonesias- growing-drug-problem/
- Drugs’ files in 5 years periode http://www.slideshare.net/agus-popi/data-narkoba-5- tahun-terakhir (Bahasa Indonesia)
- BNN busts drug syndicates with links to China, Nigeria http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/04/16/bnn- busts-drug-syndicates-with-links-china-nigeria.html
- Drugs may ‘destroy Indonesia’s youth’, says top general in slap at China gangs http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1619583/drugs-may-destroy- indonesias-youth-says-top-general-slap-china-gangs
Hong Kong ‘drug kingpin’ Wong Chi-ping caught in Indonesia raid http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1676787/hong-kong-drug-kingpin- wong-chi-ping-caught-indonesia-raid
*Feri Rahmat Chandra Piliang, a dreamer, a linguist, democratic activist, and political and socio-cultural analyst, and an international actor wanna-be. Just graduated from French Study Program, Faculty of Humanities, Universitas Indonesia, Indonesia. He adores cooking, mainly Asian cooking. He likes Putumayo’s album. Worships Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Hamka, Camus, and Molière. He grew up in a matrilineal world of his family and his clan, which made him think that equity in gender is mandatory. He can be contacted at feri.rahmat(at)hotmail.com