Capital punishment is a legal penalty in Indonesia. Although the death penalty is normally enforced only in grave cases of premeditated murder, corruption in extreme cases can lead to the death penalty and the death penalty is also regularly applied to certain drug traffickers. Executions are carried out by firing squad.[1][2][3]


Though the death penalty existed as a punishment from the inception of the Republic of Indonesia, the first judicial execution did not take place until 1973.[4]

The first civilian execution in Indonesia was performed in 1978. Oesin Bestari, a goat butcher from Mojokerto, was the first criminal condemned to death in post-independence Indonesia. He was convicted in 1964 after murdering six persons, all of whom were his business partners. He was executed on 14 September 1978 on a section of Kenjeran Beach, Surabaya.[5][6]

The second person executed was Henky Tupanwael, a street martial artist-turned-armed robber. He was convicted in 1969 after a series of armed robberies in 1944, 1957, 1960, and 1963. He was also a notable prison escapist, with three records of prison escapes. He was executed on 5 January 1980 at government gunnery range in Pamekasan, Madura Island. His execution was notable as it featured popular Indonesian superstition at that time relating to black magic practitioners possessing weapon immunity and the delicate process required to execute him. At the time of his execution, government officials treated his place of death with an unusual process. His execution pillar was bedded with kelor leaves and arranged in a way that his body dropped directly to the bed. Instead of the traditional black cloth used to cover his eyes, a red cloth was used. He was also pinioned using coarse palm fibre ropes, but not tied to the pillar to ensure that his body dropped to the kelor leaves the bed. All was done by government officials to neutralize his immunity and make sure he died in the process.[7][6][8]

The third person executed was Waluyo, also known as Kusni Kasdut, a former hero-turned-armed robber. Kusni Kasdut's case attracted significant media attention at that time because he was a hero of the Indonesian National Revolution, as well as for his Robin Hood-style robberies, as he committed robberies in order to distribute his gains to the poor. He was executed on 16 February 1980 near Gresik City, East Java.[6][9]

The Indonesian government does not issue detailed statistics about every person facing the death penalty in the country. In fact, "the search for precise figures is hampered by prevailing state secrecy over the death penalty."[10] There were no executions in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 and none have been scheduled for 2022, possibly as a result of intense and widespread international criticism the Indonesian government had to face for carrying out the last executions. President Joko Widodo has since stated that he is now open to reintroducing an official moratorium on the death penalty.[11] Indonesia is well-noted as "a strong advocate against the death penalty for its citizens abroad."[12]

Historical use of hanging

Despite Indonesia using Law No. 2/PNPS/1964 that mandated execution by firing squad, until 2023, Article No. 11 of Indonesian Criminal Code still mandated that executions must be performed by hanging and the part remain written in the code. This part is a piece of law from the colonial era, as Indonesian Criminal Code inherited from Dutch East Indies Criminal Code, but the article is superseded by Law No. 2/PNPS/1964 in practice.[13] During the Dutch colonial era, executions were performed by public hanging at town parks and may be considered barbaric, as the hanging was performed by short drop hanging, in which 3 executioners played their role in the death of the condemned prisoner. One would open a trap door, one would pull the legs of the prisoner, and another would push the prisoner's shoulder below, so the condemned prisoner's death was hastened.

The hanging also often not employed hood, as recorded by Dutch chronicler Justus van Maurik which recorded the execution scenes in his 1897 book "Indrukken van een “Totok,” Indische type en schetsen". One condemned prisoner, even experienced "horrific facial changes, bulged eyes, extremely protruding tongue, and blood discharge from body orifices" during this kind of hanging as recorded by him.[14] Since the 1915 revision (Staatsblad 1915 No. 732), the latest revision of Dutch East Indies Criminal Code, the hanging using long drop method instead of short drop.[13] The effect, however, only applied to the criminals sentenced after 1918.[15] After the independence of Indonesia, the Dutch East Indies Criminal Code turned into Indonesian Criminal Code by passage of Law No. 1/1946 (Regulations of Criminal Laws), with many changes of irrelevant aspects of the former Dutch East Indies to Indonesia. However, the hanging part still retained and enshrined at the Article No. 11 of both the former Dutch East Indies Criminal Code and the later Indonesia Criminal Code.

The hanging later replaced after Indonesia fell into Japanese Occupation Forces during World War II. The Japanese Occupation Forces government issued Osamu Gunrei No. 1/1942 (Punishments in Accordance with the Law of the Armies) on 2 March 1942, which mandated that executions throughout Indonesia be performed by means of shooting.[13] During the turbulence of the Indonesian National Revolution which resulted into divided territorial control of Indonesia between Netherlands-controlled and Indonesian controlled areas, the execution process divided also. In areas controlled with Netherlands occupation forces, the Netherlands Indies Civil Administration issued Staatsblad 1945 No. 123 (On Capital Punishment), which mandated execution with fire squad to condemned criminals, while in Indonesia-controlled areas used hanging to execute the condemned criminals. After the recognition of Indonesian independence, the criminal code still split into two between the Indonesian-controlled areas and areas formerly controlled NICA until 1958. Due to this, on 20 September 1958, the Indonesia Government issued Law No. 73/1958, to impose Law No. 1/1946 to all Indonesia, and since then Indonesia using hanging. The use of hanging retained from 1958 to 1964.[16] On 27 April 1964, Law No. 2/PNPS/1964 issued to replace hanging with execution by firing squad. Although the Article No. 11 of Indonesia Criminal Code no longer used since 1964 to present time,[13] the article however used to very extraordinary cases. The last known recorded hangings was applied to the Komando Jihad ringleaders, Imran bin Muhammad Zein, Salman Hafidz, and Maman Kusmayadi for their involvements in Cicendo incident [id] and subsequent Garuda Indonesia Flight 206 Hijacking, firsts of jihadism-motivated terrorism acts in Indonesia. They were sentenced under very harsh anti-subversion law Law No. 11/PNPS/1963 (On Eradication of Subversive Activities) in 1981 and sent to gallows. With this law, Imran was executed in late 1983, Salman in early February 1985, and finally Maman on 12 September 1986. All of them executed at classified government facility somewhere at the foot of Tangkuban Perahu, West Java.[17][18][19][20] The Law No.11/PNPS/1963 was notable as one of harshest laws ever made in Indonesia, as it ignored Lex posteriori derogat legi priori and Lex specialis derogat legi generali doctrines to any subversive activities and any activities deemed to be threatening the ruling government (written explicitly in Article No. 19, Law No. 11/PNPS/1963) and enabling the government to impose the harshest possible punishments for said activities (Article No. 13, Law No. 11/PNPS/1963), enabling hanging to be applied for criminals convicted in subversion acts. The Law No. 11/PNPS/1963 itself repealed by Law No. 26/1999 on 19 May 1999, 13 years after the last hanging.

Hanging is removed from the new 2023 Indonesian Criminal Code. The law only mandated the execution must be performed by shooting only.[21]

Legal process

Use of execution by firing squad

Prisoners may spend a long time in prison before their sentence is finally carried out. Usually, their final appeal has been exhausted through the trial court, two appellate courts, and consideration of clemency by the President.

Prisoners are executed by firing squad, as mandated by Law No. 2/PNPS/1964. The law applies for civilian and military executions.

Prisoners are woken up in the middle of the night and taken to a remote (and undisclosed) location before sunrise and executed by firing squad. The method has not changed since 1964.[22][23]

The prisoner states their final request which the prosecutor may grant when deemed feasible and do not obstruct the execution process.[24]

The blindfolded prisoner is led to a grassy area where they have an option to sit or stand.[22] The firing squad is composed of 12 soldiers, who shoot at the prisoner from a range of five to ten meters, aiming at the heart.[22] Only three fire live bullets and the rest fire blanks.[22] If the prisoner survives the shooting, the commander is required to shoot the prisoner in the brain with his own weapon.[25] The procedure is repeated until a doctor confirms no signs of life remain.[24]

Possible changes from death sentence to imprisonment

The new 2023 Indonesian Criminal Code opened possible changes from death sentence to imprisonment. Article 100 of the 2023 Code mandated the judge to give 10 years probationary period to a criminal sentenced with death sentence considering the criminal is remorseful and his role in the crime worth to be sentenced for death. After 10 years, his/her sentence can be commuted to imprisonment for life.[26] In addition, if the capital punishment is not carried after 10 years after the clemency proposal from the criminal rejected by the president, his/her sentence can be commuted to a term of imprisonment for life.[27]


In 2007, the Indonesian Constitutional Court upheld the constitutionality of the death penalty for drug cases, by a vote of six to three.[28] The case was brought by prisoners sentenced to death for drug crimes, including some of the Bali Nine, a group of Australian citizens sentenced to prison and the death penalty for drug trafficking in Bali in 2005.

Statutory provisions

The following is a list of the criminal offenses that carry the death penalty in Indonesia:[29][15][30]

Criminal offenses punishable by death based on the Indonesian Criminal Code

Indonesian Criminal Code (Indonesian: Kitab Undang-Undang Hukum Pidana, KUHP or KUHP 2023), Law No. 1/2023 listed several criminal offenses which can be punishable by death:

The meaning of treasonous act in KUHP 2023 Art. 160 are the intention to carry out the attack has been realized by the preparation of the act. Which means it only defines treasonous act if there happens to be a premeditated conflict from the alleged separatists. Those who have sympathy for separatism or raise the Morning Star flag will not automatically be charged for treason.[31]

Criminal offenses punishable by death based on laws other than the Indonesian Criminal Code

The following criminal offenses are not regulated in Indonesia Criminal Code, but in other laws. Violation of these criminal offenses resulted in punishment by death. Some of the offenses here were eventually moved to the newly coded 2023 Indonesian Criminal Code or given lesser sentences by the new Criminal Code.

Offenses punishable by death based on Indonesia Military Criminal Code

Indonesia Military Criminal Code (Indonesian: Kitab Undang-Undang Hukum Pidana Militer) is Staatsblad 1934 No. 167 and revised and amended several times with (1) Law No. 39/1947, (2) Law No. 5/1950, and (3) Law No. 31/1997. It listed several offenses that punishable by death. The offenses are:

Criminal offenses formerly punishable by death

Execution statistics

Executions in Indonesia during and after Suharto era:[34][35][36]

Year Convict Age (Gender) Nationality Crime Location
2016 Freddy Budiman 39 (♂) Indonesia Drug trafficking Surabaya
Seck Osmane 38 (♂) Senegal/Nigeria Drug trafficking
Humphrey Jefferson Ejike (♂) Nigeria Drug trafficking
Michael Titus Igweh (♂) Nigeria Drug trafficking
2015 Ang Kiem Soei (♂) Netherlands Drug trafficking Tangerang
Marco Archer 53 (♂) Brazil Drug trafficking Jakarta
Daniel Enemuo 38 (♂) Nigeria Drug trafficking
Namaona Denis 48 (♂) Malawi Drug trafficking
Rani Andriani 38 (♀) Indonesia Drug trafficking Tangerang
Tran Bich Hanh[37] (♀) Vietnam Drug trafficking
Martin Anderson (♂) Nigeria Drug trafficking
Raheem Agbaje Salaami (♂) Nigeria Drug trafficking
Sylvester Obiekwe Nwolise (♂) Nigeria Drug trafficking
Okwudili Oyatanze (♂) Nigeria Drug trafficking
Zainal Abidin (♂) Indonesia Drug trafficking
Rodrigo Gularte 42 (♂) Brazil Drug trafficking
Andrew Chan 31 (♂) Australia Drug trafficking Bali
Myuran Sukumaran[38] 34 (♂) Australia Drug trafficking Bali
2013 Ademi (or Adami or Adam) Wilson alias Abu (♂) Malawi Drug trafficking
Suryadi Swabuana (♂) Indonesia Murder
Jurit bin Abdullah (♂) Indonesia Murder
Ibrahim bin Ujang (♂) Indonesia Murder
2008 Amrozi bin Nurhasyim 46 (♂) Indonesia Terrorism (2002 Bali bombings) Bali
Imam Samudra 38 (♂) Indonesia Terrorism (2002 Bali bombings) Bali
Huda bin Abdul Haq alias Mukhlas 48 (♂) Indonesia Terrorism (2002 Bali bombings) Bali
Rio Alex Bulo alias Rio Martil 39 (♂) Indonesia Murder
Tubagus Yusuf Maulana alias Usep (♂) Indonesia Murder
Sumiarsih (♀) Indonesia Murder
Sugeng (♂) Indonesia Murder
Ahmad Suradji 59 (♂) Indonesia Murder
Samuel Iwuchukuwu Okoye (♂) Nigeria Narcotics
Hansen Anthony Nwaliosa (♂) Nigeria Narcotics
Ayub Bulubili (♂) Indonesia Murder
2006 Fabianus Tibo 61 (♂) Indonesia Riot Poso
Marinus Riwu (♂) Indonesia Riot
Dominggus da Silva (♂) Indonesia Riot
2005 Astini Sumiasih 49 (♀) Indonesia Murder
Turmudi (♂) Indonesia Murder
2004 Ayodhya Prasad Chaubey (♂) India Drug trafficking North Sumatra
Saelow Prasert (♂) Thailand Drug trafficking North Sumatra
Namsong Sirilak (♀) Thailand Drug trafficking North Sumatra
2001 Gerson Pande (♂) Indonesia Murder East Nusa Tenggara
Fredrik Soru (♂) Indonesia Murder East Nusa Tenggara
Dance Soru (♂) Indonesia Murder East Nusa Tenggara
Adi Saputra (♂) Indonesia Murder Bali
1995 Chan Tian Chong Indonesia Narcotics
Karta Cahyadi (♂) Indonesia Murder Central Java
Kacong Laranu (♂) Indonesia Murder Central Sulawesi
Sergeant Adi Saputro (♂) Indonesia Murder
Azhar bin Muhammad (♂) Indonesia Terrorism
1990 Satar Suryanto (♂) Indonesia Subversion (politics, 1965 case)
Yohannes Surono (♂) Indonesia Subversion (politics, 1965 case)
Simon Petrus Soleiman (♂) Indonesia Subversion (politics, 1965 case)
Noor alias Norbertus Rohayan (♂) Indonesia Subversion (politics, 1965 case)
1989 Tohong Harahap (♂) Indonesia Subversion (politics, 1965 case)
Mochtar Effendi Sirait (♂) Indonesia Subversion (politics, 1965 case)
1988 Abdullah Umar (♂) Indonesia Subversion (politics, Islamist activist)
Bambang Sispoyo (♂) Indonesia Subversion (politics, Islamist activist)
Sukarjo (♂) Indonesia Subversion (politics, 1965 case)
Giyadi Wignyosuharjo (♂) Indonesia Subversion (politics, 1965 case)
1987 Liong Wie Tong alias Lazarus (♂) Indonesia Murder
Tan Tiang Tjoen (♂) Indonesia Murder
Sukarman (♂) Indonesia Subversion (politics, 1965 case)

Foreign nationals

The people on death row include foreign nationals, all but one of whom were convicted of drug-related offenses. These foreign inmates come from 18 different countries: Australia, Brazil, Mainland China, France, Ghana, India, Iran, Malawi, Malaysia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, the United Kingdom, the United States, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.[35][failed verification]


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