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Indonesia readies prison island for drug convict executions

Indonesia has beefed up security at Nusa Kambangan prison island and closed it to visitors in a sign that authorities will execute people convicted of drug crimes for the third time since President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo was elected in 2014.

The head of prisons in Central Java province said on Tuesday that about 1,000 police have been sent to Cilacap, the town nearest the maximum security island, and that the prison is waiting for the attorney general’s order to carry out the executions.

Local media reports said 14 people, including foreigners, would be executed by firing squad. The government hasn’t announced a date for the executions, or the number of people, but there are indications that the death sentences will be carried out within days.

It would be the third set of executions under Mr. Jokowi, whose nearly 2-year-old administration has executed almost as many people as were executed in the previous decade.

Last year, Indonesia executed 14 people convicted of drug crimes, mostly foreigners, sparking an international outcry.

An Indonesian woman and a Pakistani man convicted of drug trafficking have been moved to Nusa Kambangan since the weekend, joining other death row prisoners already there.

“Everything will be ready soon, then we will only be waiting for the order,” said Molyanto, the prisons head, who like many Indonesians uses a single name.

The government says the death penalty is necessary for drug crimes because Indonesia is facing a drug epidemic, particularly affecting young people.

Lawyers and groups opposed to capital punishment have criticised plans for more executions. They say that the death penalty is not preventing the spread of drug use, and that some of the convictions are questionable because of police corruption and flawed courts.

More than 130 people are on death row in Indonesia.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2021 10:32:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/Indonesia-readies-prison-island-for-drug-convict-executions/article14509619.ece

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