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Narcotics and the death penalty in Indonesia

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A district court in Bali on Tuesday handed down a death sentence for importation of almost 5kg of cocaine to British citizen Lindsay June Sandiford. As Lowy Institute Research Fellow Dr Dave McRae sets out in a March 2012 Analysis paper, death sentences have not been unusual for narcotics crimes in Indonesia under democratic rule. However, since 2008 no executions have taken place in Indonesia. In Sandiford's case, the death sentence handed down by judges far exceeded the prosecutor's request for a fifteen year sentence. This is not unheard of. As McRae told the New York Times, it's possible that the backlash in recent months after clemency was granted to four narcotics convicts on death row, as well as pressure on the Supreme Court over sentence reductions, may have influenced the judges' thinking.

To read more on Indonesia's death penalty debate and the forces pushing for and against abolition, read A Key Domino? Indonesia's Death Penalty Politics as well as McRae's blog analysis.