Indonesia Executes Pakistani Drug Trafficker

A Pakistani drug trafficker was executed by firing squad at a South Tangerang cemetery early Sunday morning in the fifth death sentence carried out by Indonesian authorities since the government announced a renewed push to execute those convicted of capital offenses.

Muhammad Abdul Hafeez, 44, was executed by members of the National Police Mobile Brigade (Brimob) at 12:17 a.m. Sunday, Setia Untung Arimuladi, spokesman for legal affairs at the Attorney General’s Office, said. Hafeez was sentenced to death in a 2001 drug charge for attempting to smuggle more than one kilogram of heroin into Indonesia from Peshwar, Pakistan.

Several attempts by Hafeez to appeal the verdict were denied, Setia said.

“The convict made use of his right to demand clemency and a demand for a case review,” he said. “Both were not granted.”

A religious official and team of doctors were on-location for the execution, Setia said.

Indonesia carried out its first execution in four years in March, killing a Malawian national convicted of drug trafficking. In the months that followed four others were killed by firing squad. The AGO plans to execute 12 people this year, a move that prompted criticism from human rights activists and ran counter to statements made by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono expressing a want to soften some of the nation’s harsh laws.

Yudhoyono said Indonesia’s commitment to capital punishment had put the country at odds with a global push to abolish the death penalty during a conversation with reporters in November of last year. The country has successfully saved more than 100 Indonesian nationals from death row abroad, but it routinely sentences citizens and foreign nationals to death in domestic courts. Last year 113 people were sentenced to death, most for drug offenses or homicide.

The nation’s appeals process and requests for clemency made by death row inmates often makes capital punishment a distant threat for many convicts. But for twelve inmates identified by the AGO, all legal options had been exhausted. Adami Wilson, the Malawian drug trafficker, was executed in March. Three men convicted of murder, Swabhuana, Jurit and Ibrahim, were all executed in May.

Additional executions will be scheduled as the legal process concludes on other death row inmates, Setia said.

“Concerning those on death row for drug offenses who have not  yet been executed, it is because, among other reasons, there are convicts who are still seeking legal recourse, such as appeals to demand a case review,” he said.

Hafeez was the only drug trafficker scheduled for execution this month, Mahfud Manan, deputy attorney general for general crimes, said last week without providing further details.

Human Rights Watch called for a moratorium on executions to bring the country in line with United Nations recommendations on the abolition of capital punishment. Indonesia issued a four-year moratorium in 2008 following the execution of Bali bombers Amrozi and Ali Ghufron that was only recently repealed.

“We demand the government not to continue with its plan to execute the others defendants,” said Andreas Harsono, Indonesia researcher with HRW. “[In front of] the United Nations, Indonesia admitted to being a democracy-based country that respects humans rights. If [executions] are still being conducted then the government’s words are just nonsense.”

Death-row inmates are killed by firing squad in Indonesia. They are typically informed of their impending death 72 hours before the execution and shot under the cover of darkness in a remote location.