President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has granted clemency to Deni Setia Maharwa, a convict on death row for involvement in an international drug syndicate who has had his sentence commuted to life in prison, a presidential spokesman said on Friday.
Presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha said the clemency was granted on humanitarian grounds, adding that “the death penalty for anyone is for God to decide.”
Speaking to journalists at his Jakarta office, Julian said the clemency was accorded after taking into account the recommendations of the Supreme Court and the government.
However, state news agency Antara quoted Supreme Court spokesman Djoko Sarwoko as saying on Friday that the Supreme Court in its recommendation to the president said “it is of the opinion that there are not enough reasons to grant the clemency request and therefore it is suggested that the demand for clemency be rejected.”
He said the recommendation was signed by then-Chief Justice Harifin A. Tumpa. The court’s support of capital punishment in Deni’s case stands in contrast to another Supreme Court ruling recently made public, in which a panel of three judges overturned the death sentence of drug offender Hengky Gunawan.
The president’s spokesman said another factor weighing on the administration’s decision was a consideration of those Indonesians on death row overseas, for whom Yudhoyono has made overtures to foreign leaders, urging them to similarly grant clemency.
Deni, also known as Rapi Mohammed Majid, attempted to smuggle drugs to London on Jan. 12, 2000, but was caught before boarding a plane at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. He was arrested along with two other members of a drug syndicate — Meirika Franola and Rani Andriani.
A total of 3.5 kilograms of heroin and 3 kilograms of cocaine were found in his bag.
Deni was sentence to death by the Tangerang District Court in August 2000 and the Supreme Court upheld the sentence on appeal. The Supreme Court in February 2003 also rejected Deni’s demand for a case review.
Supreme Court spokesman Djoko said the president had already issued a similar clemency to Meirika in September, while a clemency request from Rani remains pending.
In May, Yudhoyono gave a five-year sentence reduction to Australian drug convict Schapelle Corby, whose case attracted significant media attention since her conviction in 2005. She was originally sentence to 20 years in prison for attempting to smuggle more than 4 kilograms of marijuana into Bali.
BeritaSatu & JG