Indonesia: Former president BJ Habibie calls for end to death penalty
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Indonesia: Former president BJ Habibie calls for end to death penalty

FORMER Indonesian President Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie has publicly denounced the use of the death penalty, which is still practiced in the country despite pressure from the international community.

Habibie, who was the republic’s third president, said he had come to the conclusion that “no man has the right to take someone’s life, as it is God’s prerogative right”.

The 79-year-old made the comments at the launch of the book “Politik Hukuman Mati di Indonesia” (“The politics of the death penalty in Indonesia”) in Jakarta recently.

“So if you ask: ‘Habibie, what is your comment on capital punishment?’ The answer is that I reject it,” he said, reported the Sydney Morning Herald.

SEE ALSO: Capital punishment: Where and why it’s practiced in Asia

Habibie’s comments add to the growing anti-death penalty movement in the country. The majority of those currently on death row were convicted of drug-related crimes, as Indonesia is known for its hard-line stance against drug offenders.

In Amnesty International’s global review of capital punishment practices, Indonesia was found to have meted out more than 46 death sentences and carried out 14 executions by firing squad in 2015, prompting protests from the international community.

The Attorney-General’s Office has also announced that the next round of executions will take place following the the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, which will be observed throughout June to early July.

SEE ALSO: Fate of foreign death row inmates unknown as Indonesia prepares for new round of executions

Among the more than 130 people now on death row are several foreigners, including Filipina mother-of-two Mary Jane Voloso and 57-year-old British national Lindsay Sandiford.

During a visit to Europe in April, President Joko Widodo defended the country’s continued use of the death penalty, particularly as a deterrent to drug abuse, as the government considered drug trafficking a “national emergency”.

According to Joko, 30 to 50 people die every day in Indonesia as a result of drug use.

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