Indonesia plans to execute 16 people after Ramadan

Indonesia plans to execute 16 people after Ramadan
# 15 June 2016 00:29 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. The announcement that Indonesia plans to execute 16 people who are on death row after the Muslim Eid holiday next month brings renewed attention to the country, which executed 12 foreigners in 2015 over drug-related charges, APA reports citing the New York Times.

"The death row convictions will be executed 'immediately after' the Islamic holy month of Ramadan," Mohammad Rum, a spokesman for the attorney general's office, told Agence France-Presse.

Indonesia hasn't executed anyone since April 2015. "We could not do it earlier because the government was trying to improve our economy, but now we will take some action after Eid," Rum reportedly said. He added that the executions are likely to take place by firing squad on the prison island of Nusakambangan.

Although the government hasn't specified who would be put to death, many people who are on death row have been convicted of drug-related offenses. The government has been waging a war on drugs since Joko Widodo became president in 2014. He said that the country was facing an emergency because of drug use and that traffickers should be "severely punished," according to news reports.

Indonesia is home to 4.5 million drug addicts, according to government estimates cited by Al Jazeera English. The government estimates that 33 people die each day from overdoses.

Indonesia's draconian narcotic laws are meant to instill fear and deter use. But analysts and human rights organizations question whether that is the case. There is "no evidence that the death penalty deters any crime," the U.N. assistant secretary general for human rights, Ivan Simonovic, said in a statement early March 2015. Others say a more effective solution is to create rehabilitation programs for addicts.

Despite public outcry and condemnation, Indonesia executed 12 foreigners on drug charges in 2015. The first round of executions was carried out in January 2015, with five foreign drug convicts killed by firing squad. The second mass execution took place April 2015, with seven people from Australia, Brazil and Nigeria executed by firing squads on Nusakambangan, according to the New York Times.

Widodo's zero-tolerance drug policy and refusal to grant clemency has led to strained relations with the international community. Brazil and the Netherlands withdrew their ambassadors after the executions in January 2015, according to the New York Times. Australia pulled its ambassador shortly after the executions of its citizens Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

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