In addition to Indonesia’s already horrific punishments for drug dealers, including publicly executing large-scale traffickers by firing squad, Al Jazeera recently reported that the country’s National Narcotics Agency is considering force-feeding drug dealers with their own narcotics until they die.
With 4.5 million addicts and 33 overdose deaths per day, according to government estimates, Indonesia regards their drug problem as a national emergency.
“We need to be serious because drugs are the enemy,” Slamet Pribadi, NNA spokesman told Al Jazeera.
Indonesia’s population is 260 million, making it the fourth largest country in the world.
Slums are reportedly rife with crack dens and shooting galleries, and HIV has become an alarming health concern, exacerbated by the fact that there are no clean needle policies.
Government officials admit that 70 percent of the country's prison population, 170,000 according to the World Prison Brief, is comprised of low-level drug offenders, and that there is a raging HIV epidemic among inmates, as well as on the street.
Access to drugs behind prison walls is nothing new. In 2013, a meth lab was discovered inside a Jakarta jail; three guards were found to be involved.
Critics say Indonesia’s War on Drugs is creating a climate of fear with potentially fatal consequences as it punishes addicts and does not distinguish between users and traffickers.
“Our laws criminalize the victim,” said Rudhy Wedhasmara, a defense attorney who represents addicts pro bono, “...if you’re caught with a gram of a drug, they should be sent to rehab, but instead they are sent to jail.”
Advocates say that because of the crackdown, addicts are afraid to seek the already limited treatment available in Indonesia.
Meanwhile, about 1,000 inmates in Cipinang Prison, one of the country’s largest and most overcrowded, are in a Scientology-based rehab program, which the warden is convinced has made them “happy, more obedient, disciplined…and tidier compared to the others.”
Lest these happy, tidy prisoners ever ponder escaping, the Indonesian government is also considering prisons guarded by crocodiles, tigers and piranhas.
(Photo Courtesy of Stock-Clip.com)