Saturday, 21 February 2015

Jakarta Post reports: TNI to safeguard prison island as Jokowi firm on execution policy

There’s no sign in this morning’s report by the Jakarta Post that the Indonesian president intends to change his mind on the death penalty for convicted drug criminals.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo made it clear on Friday that the postponed executions of 11 death row convicts, including two Australians, was simply the result of technical problems in the field and it had no relation at all to Australia’s pressure on Indonesia to drop the decision.
“No, there were no such issues. It is within our legal sovereignty [to execute the convicts],” Jokowi said at the Bogor Palace. “I believe the delay is due to technical issues; just ask the attorney general [about the details].”
The President then asked Vice President Jusuf Kalla to brief reporters about his telephone conversation with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop on Thursday, in which the Australian diplomat clarified the statement from Prime Minister Tony Abbott that was perceived as offensive to Indonesia. The Prime Minister said Australia would feel “grievously let down” if the executions proceeded despite the A$1 billion that was given in aid after the 2004 tsunami devastated Aceh and Nias in North Sumatra.
Kalla, who previously denied speculations that the postponement of the executions was based on pressure from Abbott, said Bishop phoned him on Thursday to clarify Abbott’s statement.
“Yesterday [Thursday], Foreign Minister Bishop explained, and certainly regretted, the misunderstanding,” Kalla said.
According to the Vice President, Bishop also said that Abbott merely tried to emphasize the long history of good relations between the two countries, including the period in which Aceh was devastated by a tsunami.
Quoting the Australian diplomat, Kalla said Australia wanted to continue cooperating with Indonesia in a variety of areas, including the fight against drug abuse and trafficking.
Attorney General M. Prasetyo, whose office is responsible for carrying out the execution, reiterated that the government decided to delay the executions from the original date earlier this month simply for technical reasons.
He also warned Australia not to intervene in Indonesia’s domestic affairs. “We never put pressure on others; we hope they also do not put pressure on us,” said the attorney general.
Meanwhile, Indonesian Military (TNI) Chief Gen. Moeldoko supported the President’s decision saying that he was ready to deploy military personnel to secure the execution site from any threats.
Moeldoko said that he would provide any support that the government needed to complete the executions of the 11 convicts, including the two Australians that the current controversy is centered around, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.
“The TNI will never be influenced by anything or by anybody. On the death penalty issue, we have a clear stance; right or wrong this is my country,” Moeldoko said.
Moeldoko said military leaders would hold a meeting with the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) and the Law and Human Rights Ministry to discuss possible threats that might emerge before and during the executions.
“We will make a detailed emergency plan to prepare for any disruptions that may interfere with the executions,” Moeldoko said.
Although Moeldoko declined to give further information on what kind of security threats might emerge as a result of the executions, he insisted that he had sufficient information from TNI intelligence reports.
“Of course we don’t want to clearly state the threats that may come from certain countries. But the TNI understands that there are possible threats. This is why we asked the head of military intelligence to attend the meeting,” he said, adding that he was ready to deploy military personnel whenever the government needed it.
For instance, the military will allocate its personnel to secure several areas in Nusakambangan prison island, Central Java, where the executions are set to take place.
“There are several empty roads on the island that need to be secured from outsiders,” the four-star general said.
death spot or tourist destination
The newspaper also carried a picture of people trying to get a boat to the scheduled location for the execution. The caption reads:
Death spot or tourist destination? Several people wait for a boat at the Wijayapura Port, Cilacap regency, Central Java, on Friday to go to the notorious Nusakambangan Island. Ever since the news that there would be a second round of executions of drug convicts was publicized, more and more people started flocking to the island every day as if it had become a tourist destination.
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