Physical integrity

The death penalty is legal in Indonesia. Prisoners learn their date of execution just 72 hours in advance.

Death row inmates are executed by firing squad. Executions are not public. The prisoner must wear a white t-shirt with a cross that indicates the location of the heart. They can choose to be executed sitting, kneeling or standing, to be blindfolded or to wear a hood. The platoon consists of 12 members of a paramilitary force called the Mobile Brigade Corps. Three of them have real bullets and nine have unloaded guns. The squad fires from a distance of 5 to 10 meters.

Thirteen offenses are subject to the death penalty. In practice, it is only applied in cases of murder (generally aggravated), acts of terrorism and drug trafficking. Indonesian law prohibits the execution of persons suffering from mental illness.

By executing drug traffickers, Indonesia openly violates the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, signed in 2006. This treaty states that capital punishment can only be used for “the most serious crimes”, excluding crimes not leading to the death of the victim – Article 6.

The Indonesian government resumed executions, in March 2013, after a de facto 4 year moratorium. Nineteen men were executed. All leniency applications for drug-related crimes are denied.

A UN expert group, on 28 July 2016, called on Indonesia to terminate executions against drug traffickers. Fourteen detainees, accused of drug trafficking, were executed between January and April 2015. These detainees had not exhausted their right of appeal at the time of their execution. Twelve were foreigners not provided adequate translation services. UN experts also points out that some of the detainees confessed under torture.

Four people, one Indonesian and three foreigners, were executed in July 2016. Three were still under appeal at the time of execution. Ten other detainees, transferred to Nusa Kambangan Island, where the executions took place, were granted a last minute reprieve for their case to be re-examined.

Nb of death sentences


Number of executions



According to the Government of Indonesia, 452 prisoners died in custody between 1 January and 30 August 2015. Of these, 344 died from natural causes (old age), 45 from tuberculosis, 10 from AIDS-related complications, five committed suicide and 48 died from an unknown cause.

Inmates suffering curable diseases may die due to lack of healthcare. Most prisons face cronic scarcity of medical ressources.

Some detainees are subjected to extreme torture which can lead to death.

Nineteen people were arrested, on 8 June 2015, in the Tangerang area (West Java). The suspects were interrogated for four days at the police detention center, and several of them say they have been tortured. Two suspects were found dead on 21 June. One of a gunshot wound, and the other with a broken neck. Law enforcement officials say injuries were due to an attempted escape, but there was no sign of this.

Asep Sunandar was arrested without warrant, in September 2016, with two others by the police of Cinajur (West Java). He was taken to a secret place. His death was announced shortly after. During their visit to the hospital, relatives of Asep Sunandar declared that the body carried several gunshot wounds and that his hands were tied behind his back.

/ Government of Indonesia

Number of deaths


/ Government of Indonesia

Number of deaths attributed to suicide


/ Government of Indonesia

The Constitution provides that every person shall be free from torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. The use of force and violence to obtain confessions is punishable by four years’ imprisonment, but the Criminal Code does not specifically criminalize the use of torture.

Most acts of torture are carried out during arrests and police custody.

Police officers blindfold prisoners, strike them with their truncheons, fists and rifles, inflict electric shocks, burn suspects during interrogations and obtain confessions under gun fire.

Vicki Arfindo, a 13-year-old Indonesian, was arrested on 14 June 2015. He was held in detention and tortured by police officers from the Widang Sector in East Java Province. He was arrested without evidence, and was forced to confess to the theft of a motorcycle belonging to his neighbor, Mr. Husen. Police officers deny the acts of torture. The report from the local hospital confirms that Arfono was injured in the face.

Torture often results in the death of victims. Between June 2014 and May 2015, the NGO Commission on the Missing and the Victims of Violence registered 84 cases of torture by police, affecting 274 victims of which 16 cases of torture have led to the death.

The Asian Legal Resource Center (ALRC) noted, in 2015, that torture of drug traffickers is increasingly common.