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Human Rights Commissioner Christoph Strässer on the imminent executions in Indonesia

05.03.2015 - Press release

Christoph Strässer, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, issued the following statement today (5 March) on the imminent executions of up to ten people in Indonesia:

I deeply regret the announcement by the Indonesian Attorney General’s Office that up to ten people will be executed in the coming days. I urgently call on Indonesian President Joko Widodo to halt the execution of these sentences.
The death penalty is a cruel and inhumane punishment. The Federal Government is opposed to its use, whatever the circumstances. Furthermore, each accused has the right to a fair trial, including the right to appeal and to have their verdict examined. I am very concerned about the announcement by the Indonesian President that he will not grant clemency under any circumstances to drug traffickers who have been sentenced to death.
I understand that President Widodo wishes to take a stand against the worsening drug problems in Indonesia, and I support the wide-ranging measures to curb the problem. However, the death penalty is the wrong way. Human lives are too high a price to pay for political symbolism.
As a successful and vibrant democracy, Indonesia serves as a role model in many areas for other Southeast Asian countries and other Muslim-majority countries worldwide. This is another reason why I very much regret that Indonesia is going against the worldwide trend to abolish the death penalty.
The German Government will continue to push firmly for the worldwide abolition of the death penalty.

Background information:

Indonesian criminal law provides for the death penalty for crimes such as murder, terrorism and trafficking illegal drugs. No death sentences were carried out in Indonesia between 2009 and 2012. Six people, including five non-nationals, were executed on 18 January 2015. The Indonesian Attorney General’s Office announced that up to ten further executions would be carried out in the coming days. Indonesia’s constitution gives the President the right to grant clemency to those who have been sentenced to death.

As early as 20 February Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, clearly expressed the rejection of the death penalty by the EU and its member states, and called on the Indonesian authorities to halt all planned executions and introduce a moratorium.

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