INDONESIA: Norway’s PM appeals for halt to state executions

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Indonesia President Widodo. Image: Tempo.

MIL OSI Analysis – Pacific Media Centre/Pacific Media Watch – INDONESIA: Norway’s PM appeals for halt to state executions – Report by Daniel Drageset.

President Joko Widodo … hard line on the death sentence with drug dealers. Image: Tempo

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Item: 9218

Daniel Drageset  – OSLO (VG / Pacific Media Watch): Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg has appealed to Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo to abolish the death sentence in the country.

On a state visit in Jakarta this week, Solberg discussed the upcoming executions of Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan.

“I asked explicitly that the upcoming executions will not be effectuated,” Solberg told the Norwegian newspaper VG.

According to Solberg, Widodo answered that the death sentence was a “part of the Indonesian judicial system and there are challenges in relations to that”.

The Norwegian Prime Minister emphasised, however, that the Indonesian authorities “seemed to listen”.

“It is important to mobilise internal support to mobilise internal support in order to abolish the death sentence.

“We as politicians must always point this out to politicians from Indonesia, but I think it is just as important what the civil society in Indonesia says,” Solberg said in the interview.

Rehabilitation programme
There has also been support for the Sukumaran and Chan from Norwegian philosopher and academic Ivar Schou.

Schou, who has been heading to Norwegian educational centres in Bali, has established a rehabilitation programme in the Kerobokan prison on the Indonesian island, where Sukumaran and Chan were until recently imprisoned.

“In Indonesia, one thinks primarily about how to punish [individuals], but hardly about how to rehabilitate.

“I want to show that prisoners, who have been sentenced to death, also are normal human beings,” Schou said.

Schou has a project where hundreds of students have been able to visit prisoners at Kerobokan prison.

Norwegian student Espen Nordstrøm met Sukumaran about 20 times.

“I had several conversations with him and I got to know the background for why he was imprisoned.

“He said he was young, stupid and needed the money. He always seemed incredibly quiet and had a big smile,” Nordstrøm said.

Norway is firmly against capital punishment, and is widely known for its liberal penal code and prison system. It has strong ties with Indonesia in various areas, including conservation, climate change and energy.

Why Norway’s prison system is so successful

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Selwyn Manning, BCS (Hons.) MCS (Hons.) is an investigative political journalist with 23 years media experience. He specializes in reportage and analysis of socioeconomics, politics, foreign affairs, and security/intelligence issues. Selwyn has extensive experience as a commentator and has provided live political analysis to a wide range of television and radio organizations broadcasting in New Zealand, Australia and globally including the BBC (Five Live, London) and BBC (World Service). He is currently a correspondent to Australia's FiveAA radio, and is a regular live-on-air panelist on Radio New Zealand's The Panel with broadcaster Jim Mora.

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