Jakarta, April 23 2021: Since the onset of the pandemic, trials and court proceedings over Zoom have become the norm in quite a few countries around the world. Indonesia however, takes this a step further and has used the platform to deliver scores of death sentences.
The South East Asian island archipelago nation has some of the toughest laws in the world for dealing with drug trafficking and smuggling and implements them to the letter. The Covid stricken country imposed a ban on in-person trials even for serious murder and drug trafficking cases which carry a death sentence and since the start of last year, a 100 inmates have been handed the death penalty via what critics call “inhumane” channels using video links by judges they could only see on television screens.
The nation whose population is mainly Muslim, has sentenced to death foreign traffickers as well, including the masterminds of Australia’s Bali Nine Heroine gang. In April, 13 members of a trafficking ring which include 3 Iranians and a Pakistani were told via video link that they would face a firing squad for attempting to smuggle 400kg of methamphetamine into the country. This week, some six Islamist militants were also handed the death sentence for their involvement in a 2018 prison riot that resulted in the deaths of five of the country’s counter terror operatives.
Critics say the handing of sentences on Zoom add insult to injury by dehumanizing the person who is being handed the sentence. According to Indonesia’s Amnesty International director, Usman Hamid, virtual dealings such as these degrade the value of someone’s life and that being handed the death sentence in cruel enough, this mode of delivery only adds injustice and inhumanity to the mix
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