In pure pandemic style, courts in Indonesia and Singapore have utilized Zoom to serve death sentences to individuals convicted of drug trafficking.
Harm Reduction International (HRI), released their published annual report of the global drug war death penalties this past Wednesday. In a statement obtained by VICE World News, 19 drug offenders were sentenced to death in Indonesia during virtual hearings held on Zoom and What’s App between March 2020 and March of this year. Two drug trafficking convictions resulted in death by hanging in Singapore last year.
The HRI report is advocating for the persecuted individuals; stating these virtual trails are a “significant violation of their fair trail rights”.
Many lawyers for the defendants have said that the computerized conference calls are highly prone to interruption and “freezing”. This is due in part to the poor internet connections, which Indonesia holds some of the lowest speeds in the world. More importantly these virtual trails took away proper counsel between defendants.
Furthermore, numerous of these cases normally not viewed by the general public had open access. More disturbing, a clutch of these death sentences were foreign nationals. In which some of these individuals were found to not have access to court interpreters. Lawyers have also added that the Zoom platform was lacking in terms of security and confidentiality.
So far these Zoom hearings in Indonesia have passed death sentences to the following:
- 3 Malaysians, Kumar Atchababoo, Rajandran Ramasamy. And Sanggat Ramsamy. All who were convicted and sentenced to death in November, after an attempt to smuggle 28.6 kg of methamphetamines last January.
- Punithan Genasan, another 37-year-old Malaysian has also been sentenced to death via hanging from a drug charge from 2011.
According to the HRI report, as of October 2020 there have been 355 people on death row in Indonesia. 214 of those individuals have been convicted due to drug related offenses. Which is a shockingly 29 percent increase from 2019. Not surprisingly, the report found an increase in death sentences despite the COVID-19 pandemic.