Death Penalty in Indonesia: Development and Prospects for Abolition
Free Public Lecture
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, Director
Mr Ricky Gunawan
Community Legal Aid Institute (LBH Masyarakat)
Ricky Gunawan is an Indonesian human rights lawyer and the Director of the Community Legal Aid Institute (LBH Masyarakat), based in Jakarta. He specialises his work on access to justice, torture, death penalty, mental health, as well as human rights and drugs policy. Ricky represented Rodrigo Gularte, a Brazilian national who had paranoid schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and was executed in April 2015. He also represented Humphrey Ejike Jefferson, a Nigerian national whose case was fabricated, and was executed in July 2016; and Merri Utami, an Indonesian woman drug mule who was listed for execution in July 2016 but was reprieved at the last minute. Ricky earned his law degree from the University of Indonesia. He holds an MA in the Theory and Practice of Human Rights from the University of Essex, UK, with a full scholarship from the Open Society Foundation. At LBH Masyarakat, he leads a group of dedicated lawyers in providing free legal services for the poor and marginalised groups, including people who use drugs, people living with HIV, sex workers, and LGBT communities.