Suspects facing the death penalty in Indonesia were often subjected to torture and sometimes denied access to lawyers and interpreters, Amnesty International said in a report Thursday.
Some of those who have been sentenced to death said police had beaten them in detention to make them confess, and judges accepted the confession as evidence, said Amnesty in the report titled Flawed Justice: Unfair Trials and the Death Penalty in Indonesia.
In some cases, defendants were denied interpretation during or before trial and were made to sign documents in a language they did not understand, the report said.
“The death penalty is always a human rights violation, but the numerous and serious issues with regards to how it is being applied in Indonesia makes its use all the more tragic,” Amnesty said.
“Authorities must end this senseless killing once and for all and immediately review all death penalty cases with a view to their commutation,” it said.
Amnesty said its investigation into 12 individual death penalty cases revealed “emblematic flaws in Indonesia’s justice system,” with half of the prisoners claiming that they had been coerced into confessing to their crimes.
Indonesia executed 14 convicted drug traffickers, including 12 foreigners, this year, despite international appeals for mercy.
The government said no dates have been set for further executions, saying that it was focusing on tackling an economic slowdown.
Poengky Indarti, executive director of the human rights group Imparsial, described the Amnesty report as “accurate .”
“Indonesia’s legal system is prone to corruption and collusion and under such a system innocent people could be easily victimized,” she said
She said the death penalty served as a “cover to make the government look decisive and strong.”
“Most of those executed were just drug mules because the kingpins are protected by corrupt members of law enforcement.”
The national police strongly denied the allegations that investigators tortured suspects and denied them interpreters or lawyers.
“We do things according to the proper procedures,” national police spokesman Agus Rianto said.
“Don’t just believe what people outside say,” he said, adding that police could be sued if they engaged in torture or other forms of ill treatment.
“The fact that they were convicted showed that there were no legal violations were committed in the investigation process,” he said.
At least 121 people are currently on death row in Indonesia, including 35 foreigners mostly convicted of drug-related crimes, according to the Justice Ministry.