Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Indonesia to extend death penalty to rapists
President Widodo of Indonesia again turns to the death penalty as a solution to crime. He ignores the now widespread acceptance that execution is ineffective, and is itself barbaric and inhumane.
The government is set to impose the death penalty on rapists amid growing public outcry over a series of gang rapes that have shocked the nation. During a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the government agreed to impose heavier sanctions, including life imprisonment and the death penalty, on rapists as it considers childsex abuse an extraordinary crime.
If the regulation is passed, the country, which implements a tough drug law that has seen dozens of drug traffickers executed, will open the possibility of delivering more death sentences. The public’s demand for the death penalty has intensified following the rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl in Bengkulu last month, as well as gang rapes in Gorontalo and North Sulawesi.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is set to decide whether the government should issue the new legal basis to deter child molesters during a meeting on Thursday. “[Sexual abuse is an extraordinary crime]. Therefore, extraordinary measures also need to be taken,” Jokowi told reporters after the Tuesday meeting.
The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) and the National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) have criticized the planned introduction of the death penalty in rape cases.
Komnas Perempuan deputy chairwoman Budi Wahyuni said that executing people, no matter how cruel the crime committed, was barbaric.
Likewise, Komnas HAM chairman M. Imdadun Rahmat said that the death penalty was a human rights violation, regardless of the government’s good intention.
The government is focusing on imposing heavier punishments on adult rapists. As for underage rapists, such as in the Bengkulu case, Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna H. Laoly said that such cases were lex specialis. “We have the 2012 law on children’s trials [which limit the punishment on minors to half that of adults],” he said.
The Jakarta Post, 11th May 2016