[JURIST] Death row inmates in Indonesia have been denied the right to counsel, beaten and coerced into confessions, according to an Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] report [text, PDF] published Thursday. The country has executed 14 prisoners since President Joko Widodo [BBC profile] took office in October 2014, all for drug charges. AI reported [press release] that in half of the cases it analyzed, prisoners said they confessed only because they were tortured. One Pakistani man detained by Indonesian authorities was beaten so badly he required surgery, but his confession was still used against him in court, AI said. Additionally, in these cases none of the accused was brought before a judge immediately and many had to wait months before meeting with a lawyer. AI is urging the government to impose a moratorium on the death penalty and create an independent body to review death penalty cases.
Indonesia’s use of the death penalty has been an international point of contention. A court in Jakarta denied [JURIST report] the clemency appeal of a French citizen sentenced to death on a drug trafficking charge in June. In April, Indonesia executed [JURIST report] eight convicted drug smugglers said to be part of the “Bali Nine” smuggling ring by firing squad. In February a spokesperson for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights urged [JURIST report] the Indonesian government to halt all executions of people convicted of drug-related offenses. Another spokesperson for the OHCHR voiced concern [JURIST report] in January over the continued use of the death penalty in Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The OHCHR reported that eight more people convicted of drug trafficking in Vietnam had been sentenced to death. Also in January Brazil and the Netherlands recalled [JURIST report] their ambassadors from Indonesia after an Indonesian firing squad executed six convicted drug traffickers [JURIST report].