Independent UN human rights expert urges Indonesia to halt executions

Special Rapporteur Christof Heyns. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

28 March 2013 – An independent United Nations human rights expert today urged the Indonesian Government to restrict the use of the death penalty, following the recent reported execution of a man convicted on drug charges.

“I deeply regret that Indonesia executed Mr. Adami Wilson despite appeals by UN human rights experts and civil society organisations not to carry out executions for drug-related offences,” said Christof Heyns, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions.

According to reports, Mr. Wilson was executed by firing squad in the capital, Jakarta, on 14 March 2013 – the first execution in the country since November 2008.

After the execution, Indonesia’s Attorney General announced that 20 prisoners convicted and sentenced to death will be executed later this year, stated a news release issued by the UN human rights office (OHCHR). Reportedly, around 130 people are believed to be on death row in Indonesia and more than half of them have been convicted of drug-related offences.

“Such a practice is unacceptable,” Mr. Heyns stressed. “Under international law, the death penalty is regarded as an extreme form of punishment which, if it is used at all, should only be imposed for the most serious crimes, that is, those involving intentional killing, and only after a fair trial.”

He reiterated that “any death sentence undertaken in contravention of a State’s international human rights obligations is tantamount to an arbitrary execution, and is unlawful.”

Noting that the death penalty is under review by national courts and that a public debate on the issue is ongoing in Indonesia, Mr. Heyns said he hoped that the Government will consider a moratorium on executions.


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