INDONESIAN president Joko Widodo stands by his country’s use of the death penalty for drug-related offenses, calling drug trafficking a “national emergency”.
During the German leg of his European tour, Joko said on Monday that drug abuse was a serious problem in his country, as 30 to 50 people a day die due to drugs.
“Implementation of the death penalty is carried out very cautiously,” he said through an interpreter.
He said this after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who spoke about Germany’s views against capital punishment and urged Indonesia “not to implement it if possible”.
While Germany is an abolitionist country and has not used the death penalty since 1987, Indonesia is still a retentionist state, which means it retains the death penalty.
Indonesia is known for its strict drug laws and currently has more than 130 people – including foreign nationals – on death row, mostly for drug crimes.
Authorities recently said that the country is preparing to execute more foreigners convicted of drug offenses. Last year, 14 executions were carried out, inciting protests from the international community.
In Amnesty International’s latest review of global stances on executions and death row, it reported that Indonesia had meted out more than 46 death sentences and carried out 14 executions by firing squad, all of which were for drug-related offenses.
The human rights group’s research director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, Rupert Abbott, has previously condemned Indonesia’s continued use of the death penalty.
“President Joko Widodo should immediately abandon plans to carry out further executions and impose a moratorium on the death penalty as a first step towards abolition,” he said.
Additional reporting by Associated Press