“Why are you against death penalty?’, a friend asked when I expressed my firm opposition against capital punishment. I just believe that giving the state a legitimate authority to take lives is not something that should exist in modern world. It’s prone to cock-up, especially in a judicial system where question marks are oftenly found everywhere.
Capital punishment is irreversible, a price that I believe can’t be afforded in current climate of justice. Mary Jane’s case (where her execution was delayed due to impending trial in the Philippines), for instance, is an exhibit of why an irreparable legal punishment comes with high risk.
However, in the midst of international political tension regarding the execution in Nusa Kambangan last night, one shouldn’t be surprised to see our government pressed on with condemnation. I think it’s understandable to see the concerning countries like Australia and Brazil to express their disappointment with future diplomatic moves yet to be decided. Canberra already withdrew ambassador and said that it can’t be business as usual from now on.
But it’s also not beyond reason to understand why there’s no way for our government to cancel the execution. To hope Jokowi’s administration to bend over international pressure is bordering on naivete, and naivete has no place in politics. I think it’s fair to say that his time in Merdeka Utara has been underwhelming at best, but we all knew that calling off the execution was not within possibility.
After all, death for drug traffickers is the law in the country, the same trait that puts Indonesia in the same bracket with America, China, Singapore as countries that still practise capital punishment.
I’m not an expert in law, but if we’re really against capital punishment, I believe legal efforts have to be made in attempt to abolish it. I think some law experts that oppose death penalty can provide information about what should be done to kickstart this campaign.
This has to be the path taken by those who believe that death penalty should cease to exist. Being reactionary could only help so much. In its truest sense, law doesn’t recognize sentimentality. But it can be replaced by another law.
This should be our homework now.
Pangeran Siahaan is a satirist and a social critic. This article has been published in his own blog: http://www.pangerant.com