Indonesia death penalty
The Indian government is making efforts to save an Indian, Gurdip Singh, who faces execution in Indonesia today. In Picture: Todung Mulya Lubis, lawyer for two Australians facing the death penalty, Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, holds a self-portrait painted by Sukumaran at Wijayapura port in Cilacap, Indonesia, April 27, 2015. [REPRESENTATIONAL PICTURE]Reuters

Indonesia, in its bid to take a hard stance against drug-traffickers, will execute 16 prisoners in July after Eid-ul-Fitr and at least 32 others in 2017, a spokesman for the attorney general's office was quoted as saying by Reuters on Tuesday.

Indonesia had stalled executions after receiving intense global criticism for executing 14 prisoners — most of them foreign drug traffickers — in 2015. The country is all set to resume the practice in 2016, and justifies the move citing rampant drug-trafficking.

"In accordance with the budget we have, we plan (to execute) 16 this year and 30 next year," M Rum said. "President Joko Widodo has said the country is facing a narcotics emergency and this is to...save our future generations," he added.

"We still have 58 death convicts of drugs cases and 152 for all kinds of crimes — murder and there's also terrorism. All we will (execute)," Attorney General HM Prasetyo told Metro TV, according to Australian Associated Press (AAP).

The remarks were made after the budget was decided in the Indonesian parliament and funds allocated for the firing squad to execute prisoners on death row.

Death penalty has been a contentious issue and has been condemned across the world. However, there are countries like Indonesia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and China that continue the practice. 

International human rights law does not permit death penalties for drug-related offences, the international NGO Human Rights Watch had said in April, while adding that Indonesia was using death penalty as "shock therapy" to deter drug use.

Phelim Kine, deputy director of the Asia Division of the NGO, had said countries like Indonesia, Iran, and China have blocked the use of language about stopping death penalty for drug-related offences in the 2016 UN General Assembly session on drugs. He also quoted research saying death penalty is not known to deter crime. 

While anti-death-penalty campaigner Todung Mulya Lubis said death penalty wouldn't be abolished in Indonesia any time soon, a middle path might be possible. He said a proposed bill might make it possible for death penalties to be converted into life terms, according to the AAP.

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