Death Penalty in Indonesia: Development and Prospects for Abolition

Free Public Lecture

Death Penalty in Indonesia: Development and Prospects for Abolition

Room 609
185 Pelham Street


More information

T: 8344 6847

In 2015-2016, Indonesia carried out three rounds of executions where 18 people were executed and all were drug offenders. Human rights communities, both domestic and abroad, have continued to criticise President Joko Widodo on the use of the death penalty and executions to address the so-called “drug emergency situations”. Human rights groups have repeatedly argued that the death penalty does not deter drug crimes. Also, Indonesia’s criminal justice system is corrupted and in this broken legal sphere, the presence of the death penalty runs the risks of having innocent lives executed – as shown in those three batches of executions. Although such criticisms gained international media attention, it appears lacking domestically. The public at large still believes in the deterrence effect and that drug traffickers are tearing apart the country. The media continues to negatively portray drug offenders as evil.

In this seminar, Ricky Gunawan will share his insights on the developments of the practice of death penalty in Indonesia and share his personal experience assisting death row prisoners for more than ten years. He will touch on Indonesia’s legal system in relation to the use of the death penalty and executions. It will then be followed with description of facts of unfair trial and untold human stories experienced by many death row prisoners, particularly those who were then executed in 2015 and 2016. Ricky will close his session with some observations on prospects for abolition of the death penalty in Indonesia.


  • Mr Ricky Gunawan