Reportage

On death row: Restaurant
owner from Tanah Abang

A drug convict, “John”, is about to file for clemency from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono after the courts rejected his appeal. The Nigerian citizen received the death penalty for drug possession in 2006.

As the owner of an African restaurant in Tanah Abang, Central Jakarta, John hoped his life would be easier in Indonesia. He earned money from his small catering business and could afford to rent a humble apartment in Kemayoran.

In 2006, a fellow Nigerian came to his restaurant and asked for a place to stay. John allowed the man to occupy a small bedroom in the restaurant.

Suddenly, the police came and raided the restaurant, saying there were drugs in the area.

John came from his apartment to witness the raid. He was shocked when the police found a considerable amount of drugs under the mattress. There was no one there including his guest who, he believes, was the owner of the drugs.

Police then arrested John, who said he experienced ordeals during interrogation. He barely speaks Indonesian and his English is also difficult to understand. Finally he was brought to trial and sentenced to death.

His lawyer Taufik Basari insists the drugs did not belong to John. “If I owned them, why would I come to see the police raiding my place?” John said, as quoted by Taufik.

In Cipinang prison, he met another Nigerian arrested for drug possession. John often accompanied the man, who was sick from HIV/AIDS; they would pray and chat together. Finally, before the man died, he admitted that the drugs in John’s restaurant were his. He said he had given the drugs to John’s guest, who is still missing. His statement was witnessed by four other Nigerian convicts, lawyer Taufik said.

With the new evidence John tried to appeal to the Supreme Court, but failed. He was then moved to Nusakambangan prison in Central Java. His lawyer Taufik, among advocates against capital punishment, said the clemency to save his client’s life was still under consideration. Taufik expressed optimism, saying several people had vouched for John’s cleanness from drugs, his integrity and religiosity.

Taufik suspects racism given that his client is Nigerian.

“Although there has been no witness saying John was involved in the drugs business, the judges believe that because many Nigerians are drugs dealers, so is my client. This is unfair,” Taufik said.

On death row

Drugs : 58

Non drugs : 57

Terrorism : 2

Total : 117

Convicts from Indonesia 76


Convicts from foreign countries 41

Nigeria : 12

China : 6

Australia : 3

Netherlands : 3

Malaysia : 2

Pakistan : 2

Brazil : 2

Malawi : 2

South Africa : 2 India : 1

Thailand : 1

Ghana : 1

Nepal : 1

Senegal : 1

France : 1

Zimbabwe : 1

Waiting period for execution (as of early 2012)

0-5 years : 15 convicts

5-10 years : 48 convicts

10-20 years : 12 convicts

> 20 years : *1 convict

Total : 76 convicts

Legal process and clemency

Court review (PK) : **36 convicts

Appeal : 9 convicts

Appeal with

Supreme Court : 19 convicts

Clemency : ***23 convicts

No legal process : 30 convicts

Total : 117 convicts

* The convict was Bahar bin Matsar, a 67-year-old who died in prison in Cilacap in August 2012

** The Supreme Court annulled the death sentence for Hanky Gunawan

*** The President granted clemency to two death convicts, Indra Badrul Kalam and Deni Setia Maharwan

Source: Directorate General of Penitentiary, the Law and Human Rights Ministry 2012

Execution of death sentence 1979-2011

1979 : 1 convict

1980 : 2 convicts

1981 : -

1982 : -

1983 : 1 convict

1984 : -

1985 : 5 convicts

1986 : 10 convicts

1987 : 3 convicts

1988 : 4 convicts

1989 : 2 convicts

1990 : 4 convicts

1991 : 1 convict

1992 : 1 convict

1993 : -

1994 : -

1995 : 3 convicts

1996 : -

1997 : -

1998 : 1 convict

1999 : -

2000 : -

2001 : 3 convicts

2002 : -
2003 : -

2004 : 3 convicts

2005 : 2 convicts

2006 : 3 convicts

2007 : 1 convict

2008 : 10 convicts

2009 : -

2010 : -

2011 : -

Total : 60 convicts

Source: Kontras (2011)

Paper Edition | Page: 10

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