UA 47/91 - Indonesia: execution of political prisoner: Azhar bin Mohammad Safar
EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: ASA 21/02/91
UA 47/91 Execution of Political Prisoner 13 February 1991
See also UA 313/88 (ASA 21/19/88, 22 November 1988, and follow ups ASA 21/02/89,
6 February and ASA 21/03/89, 17 February 1989)
INDONESIA : Azhar bin Mohammad Safar
Amnesty International has learned that political prisoner Azhar bin Mohammad
Safar was executed early on the morning of 8 February 1991, near Bandung.
He is the seventh political prisoner to be executed in Indonesia within the
last 18 months.
Azhar bin Mohammad Safar was convicted of subversion and sentenced to
death in 1982. He was alleged to have been involved in a group of Islamic
activists, some members of which were accused of acts of violence, including
hijacking an aircraft and attacking a police station. The group's objectives
were said to include the establishment of an Islamic state.
According to reports, Azhar bin Mohammad Safar's appeal was rejected
in September 1985 and in November 1988 he was informed that his appeal for
presidential clemency had also been rejected. His execution, scheduled for
14 December 1988, was postponed just ten hours before he was to be put to death,
following his last minute appeal for a review of his case by the Supreme Court.
In January 1991, however, the Supreme Court ruled that the death sentence was
to be upheld.
On 6 February 1990 Amnesty International received reports that the
execution of Azhar bin Mohammad Safar was to take place within the following
two days. Amnesty International immediately addressed an urgent appeal to
the Indonesian President and Foreign Minister expressing grave concern about
these reports, and calling on them to take every possible measure to prevent
The appeal also expressed concern for the safety of seven elderly
political prisoners who remain under sentence of death after more than 20 years
in prison for alleged participation in the coup attempt of October 1965, or
for membership of the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI). Amnesty
International believes that they too are in danger of imminent execution. Its
concern for their safety has been heightened following the execution of six
other PKI prisoners since October 1989.
The Indonesian Government has used the death penalty with increasing frequency
in recent years and it has been used disproportionately against political
prisoners. At least 29 prisoners have been executed since 1985 compared to
four over the previous 10 years. Of the 29, the majority (27), were political
Amnesty International is unconditionally opposed to the death penalty
as a denial of the right to life and the right not to be subjected to cruel,
inhuman or degrading treatment. It calls upon the Government of Indonesia to
halt all executions and to commute all death sentences.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telegrams/telexes/express and airmail letters:
- expressing deep regret at the execution of Azhar bin Mohammad Safar;
- expressing concern that the execution was apparently announced, although
not officially confirmed, less than three days before it was scheduled to take
- urging President Suharto to show clemency and to commute all current death
Telegrams: President Suharto, Jakarta, Indonesia
Telexes: 44283 BIGRA IA; 44469 DEPLU IA
Let. Ismail Saleh
(Minister of Justice)
Jalan Hayam Wuruk 7
Telegrams: Justice Minister, Jakarta, Indonesia
General Try Sutrisno
Commander of the Armed Forces
Markas Besar ABRI
and to diplomatic representatives of Indonesia in your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your Section office, if sending appeals after 31 March 1991.