Pres. Widodo Rejects Clemency, Locals Burn Thief Alive

Indonesia President Joko Widodo has rejected Austrialian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's plea for mercy for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, which was made by telephone call earlier in the week.

In an interview with daily business newspaper Kontan on Friday, the President reiterated that he would not commute the sentences imposed on drug traffickers as the country was in a state of emergency caused by drug abuse. He insisted that the executions of the convicts would go ahead as scheduled. On Thursday, the government had initially kept silent after Abbott issued his statement.

“Our position is clear: our laws cannot be interfered with,” the newspaper quoted Jokowi as saying.

In West Java (Indonesia's death island and killing fields are in Central Java) the locals have taken to burning car and motorcycle thieves alive (called lynchings), saying prison isn't an acceptable punishment, because when they get out, they'll steal again.[More...]

On Tuesday, locals caught one of four gang members in Pondok Aren, South Tangerang in Banten, and burned him alive. The locals beat, kicked and stripped the young man of his clothes before dousing him with a bottle of gasoline. When the fire was about to die, they poured more gasoline and threw a car tire on him to prolong the flames.

Locals who witnessed the event seemed to find the action brutal, but necessary. Dila, a local resident who witnessed the incident, said Wednesday that it was not the first time a motorcycle thief was killed by the local people, ...“Criminals must be aware that they could be beaten to death if they try to steal in this area,” she said on Wednesday.

Several other locals also said on Tuesday that killing the robber was necessary to create a deterrent effect. One of them, Yudi, said that imprisonment would be useless because the criminals would just steal again.

Although the gang members used violence in their crimes, the locals who were interviewed only mentioned the thefts when justifying their brutal vigilante response.

This is the 6th incident of vigilante justice by Indonesians since September, and the 5th death, and the the second death by setting the gang member on fire. The police response: It's not necessary for the locals to act because:

“We have identified six gangs. We will track them down and annihilate them,” he said.

I'll bet this doesn't even get a mention in the U.S. press. If ISIS isn't behind it, it's not newsworthy. But as I wrote the other day, ISIS and other terror groups have a large presence in Indonesia, and are also sending recruits to Iraq and Syria.

According to the Jakarta Globe yesterday, Central Java is a breeding ground for terrorists and it's spreading from the inmate population to local residents.

Local Muslim leaders in Cilacap regency, Central Java, are using the spotlight [of the executions] to call attention to another issue: the radicalization of inmates and residents in the surrounding area.

“They spread propaganda to locals to reject the presence of churches and even to flatten worship venues,” Taufik said. ...“There is no police precinct or military subdistrict command [Koramil] in Kampung Laut. You could say it’s a safe haven for jihadists,” Taufik said.

As Justice Louis Brandeis said in 1928:

He also said:

“If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable.”

State-sanctioned murders are wrong. Violence begets violence and the Indonesians are following what their government teaches. Until Indonesia stops killing non-violent drug offenders, including drug mules, please do not give it your tourist dollars or buy their products.

There are beautiful beaches all over the world. Visit the Seychelles, Mauritius, Fiji or the Maldives. They are just as beautiful, and they don't impose the death penalty for drug offenses or burn thieves alive.

Also yesterday, Myuran Sukumaran was awarded an Associate Degree in Fine Art from Curtin University in Perth, Australia. And the police are conducting practice drills at Kerobokan prison in Bali in preparation for transporting Andrew and Myuran to Death Island. In addition to fighter jets, a military airbus, and a navy warship, they've added tanks. At least 20 police along with the military, will be involved.

Also today, Indonesian officials assured the media that "the skills and psychological health of the executioners were excellent." All 10 drug offenders will be shot to death at the same time.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Burning thieves alive. (none / 0) (#1)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sat Feb 28, 2015 at 09:48:52 AM EST

    When the state fails to control crime, the consequences are unpleasant in more ways than one.

    Thank you for spotlighting this (none / 0) (#2)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Feb 28, 2015 at 10:44:25 AM EST
    i don't see these stories anywhere else.

    i assume this is what mr. president was (none / 0) (#3)
    by cpinva on Sat Feb 28, 2015 at 05:08:46 PM EST
    referring to,

    "In West Java (Indonesia's death island and killing fields are in Central Java) the locals have taken to burning car and motorcycle thieves alive (called lynchings)"

    when he claimed the country was in a drug fueled state of emergency? of course, it looks better than admitting your administration just sucks at governing. odd though, that Indonesia's "drug fueled state of emergency" hasn't made the news, except out of mr. president's mouth.

    damn liberal media!

    Appalling (none / 0) (#4)
    by Babel 17 on Sun Mar 01, 2015 at 12:43:55 PM EST
    This mustn't be ignored.