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I am Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo

By Jonathan J. Ariel - posted Monday, 19 January 2015

Soon, maybe in a few weeks, maybe longer, the Republic of Indonesia will execute two Australian heroin traffickers, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

They are guilty. Even their cheer squad admits that. And that cheer squad includes Brisbane’s Courier Mail, given last week’s editorialising. The Bali Nine, the paper wrote, as the group became known, faced trial, were charged with violation of Articles 82(1)(a) and 78(1)(b) of Law No. 22 of 1997, were found guilty and given sentences of varied imprisonment and, in the cases of Chan and Sukumaran, death by firing squad.


The paper continued:  “a series of appeals by the convicts and state prosecutors saw sentences upgraded – four others were sentenced to death – and then overturned again and reinstated to lesser long prison terms. Throughout all this the Chan and Sukumaran death sentences remained, with their last hope being a presidential pardon”.

The convicted offenders were caught red handed. They (amongst others in different cases) challenged the constitutional validity of at the Constitutional Court (the Mahkamah Konstitusi Republik Indonesia) claiming that the provision of Law No. 22 of 1997 is inconsistent with the Articles 28A and 28I (1) of the 1945  Constitution, as well as Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Right (ICCPR), which is an international human rights law.

In time the MKRI rejected their appeal on the grounds that foreigners cannot challenge the domestic Constitution. Strike one.

Contrary to arguments presented by the defence, the court also found that provisions of Indonesian statutes can indeed restrict the right to life under the Constitution. Strike two. 

After the failure of challenging the validity of the death sentence under Law No. 22 of 1997, Chan and Sukumaran took the matter to the Supreme Court asking for a judicial review. Strike three.

There is no question they received a fair trial and there is no doubt that had they succeeded in their wickedness and flooded the streets (anywhere, be it in Denpasar, Melbourne or Sydney) with their 8.3 kg of heroin, then an inestimable number of lives would have been forever destroyed as a result of using, dealing, overdosing on heroin, or given the ghastly nature of the drug industry, or being killed.


Now, after more than nine years of enjoying Indonesian hospitality, the fat lady is about to sing. In Bahasa Indonesia no less.

None of this should be a surprise to anybody. Both Canberra and Jakarta have gone and continue to go to enormous lengths to warn travellers that the price for the crime of drug running is death. Hey, even Indonesia’s new president, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, elected in mid 2014 explicitly campaigned on a platform of showing zero tolerance to drug smugglers. He said the drug trade claims “too many Indonesian lives and trafficking foreigners need the shock therapy of execution to deter others from travelling to tourist destinations like Bali to buy and smuggle narcotics”.

Most nations agree that drug trafficking poses a major threat to the international community and that the scourge of drugs weakens the moral fibre of a society.

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About the Author

Jonathan J. Ariel is an economist and financial analyst. He holds a MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management. He can be contacted at

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