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How Indonesia executes condemned prisoners

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How Indonesia executes condemned prisoners


Indonesia conducts executions on the prison island of Nusakambangan in Central Java.

Prisoners are executed by firing squad, recruited from a special unit of the national police.

Recruits for the firing squad are chosen based on their marksmanship and “physical and spiritual health”. They are given counselling before and after executions and receive a bonus of around $100 for each execution.

Inmates are moved into isolation cells 72 hours before execution. Families are allowed visits up to a few hours before execution but then only spiritual advisors are allowed access to prisoners until they are led from their cells.

Prisoners, dressed in white, are given the choice to stand, kneel or sit before the firing squad, and to be blindfolded. Their hands and feet are tied.

Each prisoner has 12 marksmen aiming rifles at his or her heart. Executions are carried out at night and a torch is used to illuminate the target area. Only three of the 12 have live ammunition in their weapons. Authorities say this is so that the executioner remains unidentified.

The fatal shots are fired from M16 rifles at a distance of five to 10 metres.

Medical personnel are on site to pronounce the prisoner dead after execution. A officer is on hand to complete the execution with a shot to the head if the prisoner has survived the first shots.

Crosses marked with the prisoners’ names and date of death are prepared in advance.

The bodies are cleaned and handed over to families, who wait outside the prison during the execution.

Nusakambangan Island

Nusakambangan Island has had a maximum security prison since the Dutch colonial era.

The prison complex has the capacity to hold up to 2,625 prisoners. Around 500 guards are on duty at all times.

The prison has held a number of high-profile prisoners in the past, including writer Pramoedya Ananta Toer and Tommy Suharto, the youngest son of Indonesia’s former authoritarian ruler Suharto.

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