The president of the world’s most populous Muslim country, Indonesia, has taken a page from his Filipino counterpart’s playbook, ordering police officers to shoot drug traffickers who resist address because his country is facing an illicit narcotics crisis.
“Be firm, especially to foreign drug dealers who enter the country and resist arrest,” declared Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Friday, reports Reuters.
“If drug dealers who operate in Indonesia fight back when arrested, officers can shoot them, because we are in a narcotics emergency position now,” he added, notes the Associated Press (AP), citing the leader’s spokesman Johan Budi.
Budi reportedly indicated that the Indonesian president’s “comment is not a shoot to kill order and police actions should be measured and in accordance with the law.”
“It’s a message to all Indonesians to show the commitment of the government to fighting narcotics,” he explained.
Nevertheless, local journalists have reported that police executed a Taiwanese man for resisting arrest during a counternarcotics operation that yielded one ton of crystal methamphetamine, the largest-ever seizure of the illegal drug in Indonesia.
Local news outlets quoted Indonesian National Police chief Tito Karnavian as saying he had ordered law enforcement not to hesitate shooting drug traffickers who resist arrest.
“Widodo has previously been criticized for ordering executions against convicted drug traffickers who were given a death penalty by the court,” points out Reuters. “Rights activists and some governments have called on Indonesia to abolish the death penalty.”
Indonesia is currently facing a narcotics crisis.
The Quran considers illicit drugs and alcohol to be the works of Satan. However, some Islamic extremist groups consume and traffic drugs, notably the Afghan Taliban and Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL). Muslim-majority countries, including predominantly Sunni Afghanistan and neighboring Shiite-controlled Iran, are not immune to drug use problems.
“Indonesia has tough anti-drug laws and traffickers can receive the death penalty,” notes AP. “Four people, one Indonesian and three Nigerians, were executed by firing squad last year, and dozens are on death row for trafficking.”
Last year, the president of Indonesia’s neighbor the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, launched an anti-drug campaign that the United Nations and human rights groups have condemned as an extrajudicial effort.
“These sons of whores are destroying our children. I warn you, don’t go into that, even if you’re a policeman, because I will really kill you,” Duterte told the Filipino population last June, adding, “If you know of any addicts, go ahead and kill them yourself as getting their parents to do it would be too painful.”