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Capital punishment in Indonesia

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Capital punishment in Indonesia

Capital punishment in Indonesia is restricted to a handful of crimes. Though the death penalty existed as a punishment from the inception of the Republic of Indonesia, the first execution did not take place until 1973.[1]

The Indonesian government does not issue detailed statistics about every person facing the death penalty in the country. It is believed that there are around 130 people, Indonesians and foreign nationals, currently sentenced to die in Indonesia. About ten new death sentences are handed down annually, though executions are infrequent. Many of the prisoners awaiting execution have been waiting for ten years or more. Four executions took place in 2013, the first since 2008.


Prisoners (particularly those convicted of murder, terrorism or drug offences) spend a long time languishing in prison before their sentence is finally carried out. They are woken up in the middle of the night and taken to a remote (and undisclosed) location and executed by firing squad.

Capital punishment is carried out in Indonesia by a firing squad. The 12 armed executioners shoot the prisoner in the chest. If the prisoner does not die, the Commander is required to issue a final bullet to the prisoner's head.[2]

Statutory Provisions

Capital punishment is restricted to a handful of crimes in Indonesia. Currently, prisoners are only sentenced to death for three crimes: murder, drugs and terrorism. Foreigners are not exempt.

The following is a list of the criminal offenses that carry the death penalty:

  • Attempt with intent to deprive the President or Vice-President of his or her life or liberty or to render him or her unfit to govern (Indonesian Criminal Code (Kitab UU Hukum Pidana – KUHP) Art. 104)
  • Attempt with intent to deprive the President or Vice-President of his or her life or liberty or to render him or her unfit to govern (KUHP Art. 104)
  • Aiding or protecting Indonesia’s enemies at war (KUHP Art. 123 & 124)
  • Fraud in delivery of military materials in time of war (KUHP Art. 127)
  • Killing the head of state of a friendly state (KUHP Art. 140)
  • Premeditated murder (KUHP Art. 340)
  • Robbery or theft resulting in grave injury or death (KUHP Art. 365
  • Piracy resulting in death (KUHP Art. 444)
  • Instigating or inciting rebellion or riot against a state defense company during times of war (KUHP)
  • Extortion with violence (KUHP)
  • Possession and misuse of firearm and/or other explosive (Emergency Law No. 12/1951)
  • Criminal acts during air flights or against aviation infrastructure (Law No. 4/1976)
  • Production, transit, import and possession of psychotropic drugs (Law No. 5/1997 on Psychotropic Drugs)
  • Production, transit, import and possession of narcotics (Law No. 22/1997 on Narcotics)
  • Corruption under “certain circumstances,” including repeat offenders and corruption committed during times of national emergency/disaster (Law No. 31/1999 on Corruption)
  • Gross violations of human rights, including genocide and crimes against humanity (Law No. 26/2000 on Human Rights Courts)
  • Acts of terrorism (Law No. 15/2003 on Combating Criminal Acts of Terrorism)

Source: KontraS, The Death Penalty (2006)

Execution Statistics

Indonesia ended a four-year moratorium on the death penalty with the execution of Adami Wilson (sometimes spelled Adam, Adem, or Ademi), a citizen of Malawi, on March 14, 2013.[3]

On May 17, 2013, three more prisoners were executed at Nusa Kambangan Prison on an island off the coast of Java. All three were sentenced to die for murder. Suryadi Swabuana was convicted of the premeditated murder of a family in Sumatra in 1991; Jurit bin Abdullah and Ibrahim bin Ujang were convicted of a joint murder in Sekayu, South Sumatra, in 2003.[4]

Executions in Indonesia in the Post-Suharto Era:[5]

  • 2013: Ademi (or Adami or Adam) Wilson alias Abu (Malawi - Drugs), Suryadi Swabuana (Murder), Jurit bin Abdullah (Murder), Ibrahim bin Ujang (Murder)
  • 2012: None
  • 2011: None
  • 2010: None
  • 2009: None
  • 2008: Amrozi bin Nurhasyim (Terrorism), Imam Samudra (Terrorism), Huda bin Abdul Haq alias Mukhlas (Terrorism), Rio Alex Bulo alias Rio Martil (Murder), Tubagus Yusuf Maulana alias Usep (Murder), Sumiarsih (Murder), Sugeng (Murder), Ahmad Suradji (Murder), Samuel Iwuchukuwu Okoye (Nigeria - Narcotics), Hansen Anthony Nwaliosa (Nigeria - Narcotics)
  • 2007: Ayub Bulubili (Murder)
  • 2006: Fabianus Tibo (Murder), Marinus Riwu (Murder), Dominggus Dasilva (Murder)
  • 2005: Astini Sumiasih (Murder), Turmudi (Murder)
  • 2004: Ayodya Prasad Chaubey (India - Narcotics), Saelow Prasad (Thailand - Narcotics), Namsong Sirilak (Thailand - Narcotics)
  • 2003: None
  • 2002: None
  • 2001: Gerson Pande (Murder) and Fredrik Soru (Murder)
  • 2000: None
  • 1999: None

Foreign Nationals

The people on death row include foreign nationals, all but one of whom were convicted of drug-related offences. These foreign inmates come from 18 different countries: Australia, Brazil, China, France, Ghana, Great Britain, India, Iran, Malawi, Malaysia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Sierra Leone, the U.S., Vietnam, and Zimbabwe.[5]

Court Cases

In 2007, the Indonesian Constitutional Court (Mahkamah Konstitusi Republik Indonesia) upheld the constitutionality of the death penalty for drug cases, by a vote of six to three.[6] The case was brought by prisoners sentenced to death for drug crimes, including some of the Bali 9, a group of Australian citizens sentenced to prison and the death penalty for drug trafficking in Bali in 2005.


  1. ^ Hood, Roger (2003). The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 48.  
  2. ^ "Indonesia widens use of executions". New York Times. 2008-07-11. Retrieved 2013-04-24. 
  3. ^ "Indonesia executes first convict in four years". Jakarta Globe. 2013-03-15. Retrieved 2013-04-24. 
  4. ^ "Indonesia steps up killing of death row prisoners". The Age. 2013-05-18. Retrieved 2013-05-30. 
  5. ^ a b "The Death Penalty (Hukuman Mati)". Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS). 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-24. 
  6. ^ "Decision No. 2-3/PUU-V/2007". 2007-10-30. Retrieved 2013-05-30. 

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