In a few weeks time it’s likely that the Indonesians found guilty of the 2002 bombing at Paddy’s Bar in Kuta, Bali will be executed.
The ‘favoured’ method of execution in Indonesia is shooting. The condemned is taken at midnight to a deserted location where he (or she) is tied to a stake and blindfolded. The execution squad marches out, a priest, or other religico, offers what succour they can, the command is given, and the guns fire.
The assumption in the West at least has been that all but one of the members of the death squad are given live ammunition… so that they can never be *sure* they fired the fatal shot. In Indonesia this is not the case.
Irish born priest Father Charlie Burrows, has given a graphic version of the execution process that is at odds both with our understanding of the process, and the results. The story was published in The Daily Telegraph and makes pretty unpleasant reading.
The execution he attended was of two Nigerian drug couriers and in his account they took a full seven minutes to die moaning and writhing until they eventually bled to death. The death squad sttod by clearly unsure what they should do.
He tells us that the death squad is made up of twelve men, but only three of them carry rifles loaded with live ammunition. If the accuracy of those three is less than perfect then death is not instantaneous, and the soldiers are obviously under great stress themselves, so their accuracy is almost certain to be ‘off’.
Do these people deserve death? I’m no supporter of the death penalty even for the Bali Bombers who killed 202 people and wounded a further 209, Muslims, Christians, Indonesians and Foreigners alike… but if a death penalty *must* be invoked to satisfy whatever local laws are in place then surely the least you could ask for is a clean quick death or you reduce yourself to the level of the people you are punishing!?!
I understood the ‘rules’ of firing squads dictated that in the event of a ‘misfire’ that simply wounded the condemned the overseeing officer was duty bound to approach the wounded person and administer a coup de grace to end their suffering. In Indonesia it seems this part of the process doesn’t exist and the wounded person is simply left.
What happens if they are simply given non-life-threatening wounds I don’t know, but I’d assume they would be hauled up against the post once again and given another volley. Regardless, of the end result, it appears that at Indonesian firing squads, there is just a one in four chance of being hit let alone killed outright.
Conditions of life and death in Indonesia are worse than I’d thought.