Indonesia: Death sentence for IS cleric not a solution to tackling terrorism

Responding to the sentencing to death of Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) leader Aman Abdurrahman for terrorism-related offences in the country, Amnesty International Indonesia’s Executive Director Usman Hamid said:

“Lethal attacks on people going about their daily lives are horrifying and Indonesia has every right to pursue perpetrators and prosecute them. At the same time, it has been proven time and again that the death penalty does not have a greater deterrent effect than a term of imprisonment. This is a fact that also applies to terror-related crimes.

“The death penalty violates the right to life and is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. It’s a tool that governments often resort to in times of real or perceived national crisis, to demonstrate their “strength” in dealing with threats.

“The criminal justice system in Indonesia remains critically flawed. Trials for defendants facing charges on crimes such as drugs, murder, terrorism where death sentences may be imposed are often grossly unfair. Suspects frequently suffer torture during interrogations and courts often admit torture-tainted “confessions” as evidence. Policymakers must not be driven by the strong reactions that understandably emerge in the aftermath of such horrendous violent attacks. They must take all steps within their power to consign the death penalty to history.”

Background

The panel of judges on Friday at the South Jakarta District Court found leader Aman Abdurrahman, who leads the Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), believed to be associated with the armed group which calls itself the Islamic State, guilty of inciting at least five terrorist attacks in Indonesia, including the Thamrin shootings and bombings in Central Jakarta in early 2016 and the Kampung Melayu Bombing in East Jakarta in 2017. A total of 24 people were killed in these attacks, and 37 injured.

Aman Abdurrahman is the first defendant convicted of terrorism offences to be sentenced to death this year, which saw a total of 26 people received death sentences, mostly on drugs related crimes. In addition, a total of 47 people were sentenced to death in 2017, of which 33 were convicted of drugs related offences and 14 of murder. As of today, there is a total of 288 death row inmates in Indonesia.