I don’t consider any government that commits murder or violates basic human rights to be legitimate.
The campaign to abolish capital punishment in Indonesia suffered a huge setback following the execution of six drug traffickers over the weekend.
The voices of abolitionists were drowned out by those who came out in support of president Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, who used the executions as an important part of his war against drug abuse in this country.
Public opinion in Indonesia is still overwhelmingly in favour of retaining capital punishment, certainly for the most heinous crimes, including drug trafficking, which is rampant in this country and has such deadly effects. […]
Eleventh-hour appeals last week in phone calls to Jokowi for stays of execution from Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and King Willem of the Netherlands, whose citizens were among the six executed, fell on deaf ears.
Prime minister Tony Abbott has also been on the phone with Jokowi trying to save two convicted Australian drug traffickers, whose executions are apparently imminent.
Abbott has to prepare for disappointment and Indonesia for more diplomatic fallout.
The foreign leadersâ€™ interventions, well-meaning as they are, may even have done a disservice to the abolitionistsâ€™ cause.
The executions have now been turned into a question of Indonesiaâ€™s national pride with accusations flying about the West imposing its human rights values on us.
But, as the saying goes, the harder they push, the stronger Indonesia pushes back.
In response to these foreign meddlers, Indonesia has invoked its sovereignty rights and legal system, which recognises the death penalty.
And with 58 more on death row, we can expect a few more executions, including many non-Indonesians, in the coming days or weeks, just to make a point.
The human rights campaigners and abolitionists have now learned to their dismay that compassion is not president Jokowiâ€™s strongest suit, if he has any at all. […]
This may have been the reason why barely three months into office, Jokowi ordered the executions of the dozens of drug traffickers on death row.
His sagging popularity must have improved for taking a strong stand on drug abuses and for standing up to foreign meddlers.[…]
Supporters of the death penalty for drug traffickers rely on religious leaders endorsing the killing of human beings, even though most major religions advocate compassion and forgiveness above any act of vengeance.
The jury is still out that the death penalty will deter drug traffickers, but then this matters little in Indonesia. Public opinion very much wants it.