No more ‘drama’ over executions: Indonesia

The “drama” and “commotion” that surrounded the executions of drug traffickers, including Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, in Indonesia last year should not happen again, the country’s security minister says.

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Attorney-General HM Prasetyo flagged earlier this month that executions in the country were likely to resume this year following a brief suspension because of economic reasons.

While not making any announcement as to when this will occur, Security Minister Luhut Panjaitan told reporters on Thursday that “there shall be no more ‘sinetron'” – referring to a soap opera or drama – when executions resume.

“In my opinion, that’s not proper … In my opinion, don’t make it a commotion,” he said.

Last year, Indonesia executed 14 people by firing squad – six in January and eight others in April, including Chan and Sukumaran.

In the lead up to the Australians’ executions, there was intense foreign media attention and diplomatic pressure on Indonesia, as well as strident international appeals and pleas from family members.

Their executions were initially announced in February and as the day grew closer two months later, there was speculation as to when the punishment would actually occur.

Luhut said this year he would like to see “less talking”, and noted the law stipulated Indonesia only needed to give three days’ notice as to when an execution was going to take place.

Drug use remains a scourge in Indonesia and perhaps presents more of a challenge than terrorism, Luhut told reporters.

Demand for the drug ice increased 280 per cent last year, he added.

Asked whether executions were therefore effective in reducing drug use, he said: “We like to evaluate from time to time what is the best for Indonesia. We will see maybe in two or three years what is the result.”

The attorney-general’s office has previously said it has the budget to execute 14 prisoners in 2016.