Security Minister Luhut says there will be no “sinetron” drama before next executions

It has been nearly a year since the last time that Indonesia carried out the death penalty. On April 28th of last year, eight people were executed by firing squad for drug-related offenses, despite a huge outcry and pleas for mercy from the international community, human rights activists and foreign governments. 

Indonesian officials stubbornly defended the executions as being a necessity due to the “drug emergency” the country is facing. But for nearly a year, the government chose not to schedule any more executions, citing economic problems

That is until recently, when government officials started indicating that more executions would be taking place in the near future. But apparently they’re hoping to avoid the same barrage of criticism that Indonesia faced the last time  – or “soap opera” drama, as Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan referred to it.

“The executions can take place anytime, but there will be no ‘sinetron’ about it this time,” Luhut said yesterday as quoted by Tempo, referring to Indonesia’s own melodramatic form of soap opera. 

Luhut said that the next time Indonesia engages in state-sanctioned killing, the media would only be informed by a press conference three days before the executions in order to minimize coverage, which he said could “hurt society”. 

“No need to have a ‘sinetron’ like the last time, it is unbecoming. In my opinion, do not make a fuss over it,” Luhut said.

Luhut cited figures that drug use was skyrocketing in Indonesia over the last year. When asked how effective the death penalty could be in fighting a drug war if the number of drug users increased significantly after the last executions, Luhut replied that the government was still assessing their impact and suggested that they may even increase the “intensity” of executions in the future.

There were rumors that the next round of executions could take place as soon as early May, but Attorney General M. Prasetyo has denied those reports. 


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