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Drug trafficking, among 16 punishable by death penalty in Indonesia – Amb. Purwanto

His Excellency, Mr. Harry Purwanto is the Indonesian Ambassador to Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Benin, Togo, Gabon, Liberia, Burkina Faso, DR Congo, Niger, Sao Tome and Principe and ECOWAS. In this interview with Vera Samuel Anyagafu, he disclosed the critical state of drug abuse in Indonesia and how after the inauguration of the Indonesian President in 2014, he immediately declared there would be no clemency for drug-related cases.

This decision made drug trafficking part of 16 serious offences that are subject to death penalty in the country, and much more.


What would you say on the issue of Indonesian government prescribing death sentence for drug traffickers?

Drug trafficking is a very serious challenge in Indonesia. According to statistics in 2014, 4.5 million Indonesians were in need of rehabilitation from illicit drugs. This means 30-50 Indonesians are dying each day due to illegal drug use.

Considering the critical state of drug abuse in Indonesia, after the inauguration of the Indonesian President in 2014, he immediately declared that there will be no clemency for drug-related cases.

Drug trafficking is part of 16 serious offences that are subject to the death penalty in Indonesia, which also includes corruption, terrorism, treason, pre-meditated murder, and so on.

Considering the extreme nature of the death penalty, it is stipulated in the Indonesian criminal justice system that death penalty is only imposed under the most serious crimes, and applied as a last resort after strict and transparent due process of the law has been exhausted.

With regards to death sentence, Indonesia attaches great importance in ensuring the transparent, credible, and accountable due process of the law with maximum prevention of miscarriage of justice.

The execution is carried out only after the verdict has a permanent legal force; after all appeals, legal defenses, and other legal avenue have been exhausted; and after clemency has been denied.

The defendant is granted and protected in exercising their rights for a fair, transparent, and open legal process. In the case of foreigners, their respective Embassies and Consulates are given frequent access in providing consular assistance from the beginning, during detention, the trial, imprisonment, until the planned execution.

Going by the last Indonesia Trade and Investment Forum in Nigeria, would you say both countries maintain win-win cooperation, spotlighting some of your country’s assisted social responsibility to Nigeria.

Although there are dynamics and fluctuation in our balance of trade, economic and trade relations between Indonesia and Nigeria continues to grow and become stronger. Over the past several months, the Indonesian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Indonesian Minister of Trade paid a working visit to Nigeria, bringing with them a strong delegation of Indonesian businesspeople.

During the last Indonesia Business Forum that was held on July in Lagos, we managed to seal business deals worth USD.21.1 million. There are Indonesian investors that are interested in doing business and invest in Nigeria.

A number of them, in refinery and mining, are in their finalization phase of due diligence as well as installing basic equipments.

Aside from economic and trade, Indonesia has also engaged on other fields of cooperation with Nigeria, including various capacity building programs for Nigerians. These programs include internship and training for Nigerian officials in agriculture, fisheries, good governance, etc.

The Indonesian government also grants Post-graduate scholarships as well as arts and culture scholarships for Nigerian students in some of Indonesia’s most prestigious universities, through the Developing Countries Partnership Program (KNB) Scholarship and the Darmasiswa Arts and Culture Scholarship

You may please tell us the exact visa fee Nigerians intending visiting Indonesia are expected to pay and how high visa fee to Nigeria is dampening the spirit of Indonesians intending coming to Nigeria, the reason we have less Indonesians living here?

The single entry visa fee to enter Nigeria from Indonesia is USD.245 for regular passport bearers. It is the most expensive visa fee for Indonesians planning to travel abroad.

Whereas a single entry visa to enter Indonesia from Nigeria is USD.50 for regular passports. All Indonesian visa applicants from abroad are processed through headquarters in Jakarta, hence Nigerian applicants are advised to submit their applications at least 3 weeks in advance.

We have submitted inquiries to the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to review Nigeria’s visa policy to Indonesians. Such review would enable Nigeria to be one of Indonesia’s frequent travelling destinations, which in turn may also increase investment from Indonesian business communities as well as exchange of Indonesian and Nigerian scholars/experts.


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