Indonesia: Death Row and Drug World

Indonesia will soon make another international headline as the Attorney General Office has been preparing the execution of drug convicts after executing 14 drug convicts last year. Despite the fact AGO has not published the names and the dates,  Beritasatu TV has reported the names of nine drug convicts who would be executed within weeks.

As many of you might be aware that under President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration, the Indonesia government has declared war on drugs. President Jokowi stated that he refuses to grant any presidential clemency requested by drug convicts. As a result, any drug convicts, who have been sentenced to death by the court, would be executed. The government believe that capital punishment would give a deterrent impact and eventually stop drug trafficking in Indonesia. Nevertheless, this step has triggered controversy both in the national and international level.

Many argue that capital punishment is not the answer to the drug problem in the country and it is considered against human right. The government ignores the noise and carries the punishment anyway. As a sovereign state, Indonesia has its rules and regulations which could be implemented. The only way to stop capital punishment is by urging the government to revoke the capital punishment from the regulation. Yet, as I listened to the national radio program, many people actually also support the government decision to execute the drug convicts to tackle the drug problem because it is worrying.

Interestingly enough, some media reported how inhumane Indonesian government is because the government of Indonesia did not give notification about their execution to the convicts as well as the family. Is it true? I doubt it. Hence, it got me wondering “If some want to defend the drug dealers and trafficker from being executed, what do we really know about those drugs convicts? Should we have sympathy toward them?” I do not know.

So last month, I came across to two books titled “Hotel K: The Shocking Inside Story of Bali’s Notorious Jail” and “Snowing in Bali: The Incredible Inside Account of Bali’s Hidden Drug World” at a bookstore in Ngurah Rai Airport Bali. I found the title and cover very interesting. I read the blurb. It seems to be juicy, it is about crimes, drugs, sex and politics in Indonesia. I decided to buy two of them.

Yet, I was actually bit sceptical because of this book was part of a trilogy written by Australian author Kathryn Bonella who wrote “No More Tomorrows Schapelle Corby“. You might wonder “And so?

Well, Schapelle Corby was a convicted drug runner, who was found guilty of smuggling 4.2 kg of marijuana into Bali in 2004.  Denpasar District Court sentenced Corby 20 years imprisonment on May 2005. Since then, she has consistently claimed that she was innocent and fought for her release by filing appeals, judicial reviews as well as request for presidential clemency. On March 2010, she filed presidential clemency claiming that she has been suffering from mental illness. She eventually won the presidential pardon under the administration of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on February 2012. She was then released on February 2014 but must remain in Indonesia to July 2017.

The thing is rumour has it that the release of Corby was actually part of government deal whereby the SBY government had struck a deal with the Australian government to extradite an Indonesian fugitive Adrian Kiki Ariawan, a graft convict who fled to Australia in 2003. However, former Vice Minister of Law and Human Rights Denny Indrayana denied that the extradition of Adrian Kiki Ariawan had something to do with the release of Schapelle Corby.

Unfortunately, I have a conspiratorial mind and I was suspicious. I said to myself, perhaps these books are actually forms of pressure to the Indonesian government to release Corby. Is it possible? But who is Corby? How important she is?  Was she a mule or a horse? Was she really a victim? Or did she play a victim? Is it a way for a convict drug dealer to escaping heavy punishment by claiming that they are suffering from mental illness?

And by the way, one of her lawyers was Hotman Paris. How much did she pay him? Is she coming from a filthy rich family? How could she afford him? Where is the money coming from? Or is this book just a form of comprehensive criticism to the Indonesian justice system?

I must say that it is hard to tell. Everyone has their own story. Everyone has their own agenda. We cannot just buy her stories through media, including books. Right?

So I began to read these books to find the answers and the red line. Instead of finding the answers, I actually start to have more questions. Yet, I must say that these books are eye-opening and easy to read for non-English speaker. If you want to know further, you can check my upcoming post on “Hotel K: The Shocking Inside Story of Bali’s Notorious Jail” and “Snowing in Bali: The Incredible Inside Account of Bali’s Hidden Drug World“‘s review.

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Indonesia: First Lady vs Myself Part II

Warning: Please read about before you read the rest of the blog and leave comment. Thank you!

 

And... I was blocked by the Indonesia's First Lady [2014: E O]

And… I was blocked by the Indonesia’s First Lady [2014: E O]

Ayo… I just want to post a very short blog and interesting one about Indonesia’s First Lady Ani Yudhoyono. Many of you might have noticed that the Indonesia’s First Lady is a drama queen and could not handle any “negative” comment or criticism from her followers in Instagram.

Her actions in Instagram have made headline in media for number of occasions simply because she could not deal with any “negative” comment or criticism. Once I experienced it by myself when I made comment about her burberry scarf and she was overly defensive about herself.

Oh well even though she is the Indonesia’s First Lady, it doesn’t mean that she is correct, always right and never made any mistake at all. So here I was today, sent a simple comment about the picture that she posted yesterday. In that photo, the caption said “Byeee as well…” so I replied “Mana ada Byeeee as well Bu @Aniyudhoyono”. My English might not be  as good as I expected but come on… it’s Indonesia’s First Lady or her staff…. They should know better.

“Byeee as well” Ibu Ani (team) said [2014:E O]

Anyway, just within 2 minutes, I checked her instagram again and guess what? I was BLOCKED by her! What does that mean? It means that Ibu Ani has recognised all my “negative” comments and got irritated with them all. So in order to avoid the chronicle stressed, she or her team decided to block me.

I would consider her action as an achievement for me. It seems to me that she is ANI-CRITICISM! Well… well… well!  It’s not surprising for me as well as for many Indonesian citizens to see her silly action.  I guess she shouldn’t be in social media at all!

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Indonesia: A Letter To Pak Beye

People attend a candlelight vigil at Proclamation Monument in central Jakarta on Tuesday night (August 28th) to pray and show support for Shia Muslims in Sampang, Madura after local Sunni Muslims attacked the community, killing two men and burning dozens of homes. Hundreds attended the Malam Seribu Lilin (Night of a Thousand Candles). [2012: Oktofani]

People attend a candlelight vigil at Proclamation Monument in central Jakarta on Tuesday night (August 28th) to pray and show support for Shia Muslims in Sampang, Madura after local Sunni Muslims attacked the community, killing two men and burning dozens of homes. Hundreds attended the Malam Seribu Lilin (Night of a Thousand Candles). [2012: Oktofani]

Dear Pak Beye,

I am a citizen. I am a journalist. As a journalist, I like to observe, I like to listen to my source when they tell me a story. I do not interrupt them. I let them  take all the time that they need. It is because I realize that people like to be listened to.

Since I started my career in journalism, I often covered stories on human rights and legal issues. As a result, I am very aware of human rights issues now. There is a saying in journalism “Bad news is good news“. And working as a journalist in Indonesia, I would find ‘good news‘ very easily. It is because everyday I see and hear s about so many  cases of human rights violations in this beloved country.

It is very saddening to see that the number of violent attacks on religious minorities keeps increasing each year. Setara Institute found that  there were 216 cases of violent attacks on religious minorities in 2010, 244 cases in 2011 and 264 cases in 2012.

The victims of the attacks mentioned in the report belonged to religious communities including Catholic and Protestant Christians, and Islamic groups Shia, Sunni and Ahmadiyah.

Some people say that journalistic duties are to JUST write down the fact and present it to the public, we must not be involved. That is so true. But sometimes, I questioned myself how can I help the victims? I don’t want to be a hero. But I am a human with heart and feeling.

Ten Shiites from Sampang, Madura, East Java, are heading to Jakarta on bicycles to meet President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and directly convey their complaints over being expelled from their own village in August 2012.

Ten Shiites from Sampang, Madura, East Java, are heading to Jakarta on bicycles to meet President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and directly convey their complaints over being expelled from their own village in August 2012.

Norma Manalu, an activist from Aceh, speaks at a June 4th gathering about women’s rights in Aceh, at Hotel Acacia in Jakarta. Activists say they are not against Sharia Law but question the way it is being implemented.

Norma Manalu, an activist from Aceh, speaks at a June 4th gathering about women’s rights in Aceh, at Hotel Acacia in Jakarta. Activists say they are not against Sharia Law but question the way it is being implemented.

My heart beat stopped when I saw women crying because they could not use their church for worshiping God on Sunday. I cried when I heard that three Ahmadiyah followers were killed in West Java.

I was speechless when I heard a Syiah  follower had nothing to say to his four years old boy that they no longer have house because their house has been burned down by extremists in Sampang, Madura, East Java.  I wanted to scream to the government of Aceh for regulating women’s clothing and movement in Aceh as if there are not more important things to be involved in.

Akh…. Indonesia!  Don’t you remember what your teacher taught you in the class when you were at Elementary School? They taught us about Pancasila and Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity).

Akh… Indonesia! We forgot how to respect each other. We forgot the value of humanity. We forgot our national motto, Bhinneka Tunggal Ika . We just care about ourselves and be selfish instead.

Indonesia! We forgot that the Indonesian Constitution has guaranteed its citizen to choose and practice their religion. Yet, Ahmadi cannot use their mosque and some Christians cannot use their churches to worship God.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has just received theWorld Statesman  Award for promoting religious freedom  in Indonesia, while in reality your people cannot  practice their belief and religions in safety.  They come to you to convey their problem, yet you don’t even have five minutes for them. Should you wait until the table turn on you?

Bapak SBY, they are your children. They consider you as a father hence they come to you. Please kindly open your eyes, open your ears and open your heart to them.  Help them justice.

Bapak presiden, they might not have a high education but they know the value of humanity. Open your heart, open your door for them. It is ridiculous that they should come to you because the local government were too blind and to dumb to hear their problem.  We all just want to live peacefully in our home country.

Bapak presiden, if you were a real soldier, you should act like it. If you are a good father, then you should act like one. If you are a good president, then be a good president. The extremists have insulted you big time but you still give them space. That’s unfortunate.

Oh here… I have a song for you Pak Beye “Dear Mr. President” by Pink. I hope you enjoy it.

Love

Ride the bus

An FPI-Free Indonesia supporter holds a sign at a rally attended by about 50 people in front of the National Police Headquarters in Jakarta on May 10th, 2012. The group is demanding a stop to violence committed in the name of religion. [2012: Oktofani Elisabeth]

An FPI-Free Indonesia supporter holds a sign at a rally attended by about 50 people in front of the National Police Headquarters in Jakarta on May 10th, 2012. The group is demanding a stop to violence committed in the name of religion. [2012: Oktofani Elisabeth]

Indonesian Youth's Express their disappointment to the government because Lady Gaga had to cancel her sold-out show in Indonesia following protests by Islamic hard-liners and conservative lawmakers, who said her sexy clothes and dance moves will corrupt young people [2012: Oktofani]

Indonesian Youth’s Express their disappointment to the government because Lady Gaga had to cancel her sold-out show in Indonesia following protests by Islamic hard-liners and conservative lawmakers, who said her sexy clothes and dance moves will corrupt young people [2012: Oktofani]

The protesters called President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono “banci,” which literally translates to transvestite, saying he was a coward for not disbanding Ahmadiyah. [2011: Oktofani Elisabeth]

The protesters called President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono “banci,” which literally translates to transvestite, saying he was a coward for not disbanding Ahmadiyah. [2011: Oktofani Elisabeth]