The recently elected Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who is a self proclaimed metalhead, has been receiving letters from Napalm Death frontman Mark “Barney” Greenway in regards to foreign prisoners in Indonesia who are scheduled to be executed via firing squad. For those who don’t know the laws in Indonesia (like most of the world), they have some of the most strict anti drug policies in the world. Anyone convicted of a major drug offense in the country will be put to death (5 drug offenders have been executed in the last month). President Widodo, who took office in October, has disappointed rights activists by voicing strong support for capital punishment despite his image as a reformist. It also has to be noted that Widodo is a huge Napalm Death fan. Greenway has penned several open letters to Widodo asking him to spare the lives of foreigners who are sitting on death row. The most recent appeal to the president was in regards to Briton Lindsay Sandiford, 57, who was sentenced to death by firing squad in 2013 after being caught transporting £1.6 million worth of cocaine. Sandiford claims that she was forced to carry the drugs for the sake of her children, whose safety was being threatened. According to the BBC, Sandiford says she has no legal representation and can not afford a lawyer.
Here is the letter sent to President Widodo, first published by The Independent:
Dear Mr Widodo,
I am writing to you again to appeal for mercy and restraint, this time regarding the case of Lindsay Sandiford, a prisoner from the UK who it would seem is facing the prospect of imminent execution on the grounds of cocaine trafficking.
My request for a considered, humane perspective extends to all prison detainees, but particularly in the case of Lindsay Sandiford it would appear that she was under duress to transport drugs, with her family under threat if she did not comply.
Speaking generally, there have been countless miscarriages of justice and excessive punishments throughout history, and when the designated penalty is death I would suggest that someone potentially faced with no option but to bow to such a threat deserves far greater hearing and protection from the gravest of penalties.
Currently, Lindsay Sandiford has not seemingly been afforded the legal resources to present her case, so to deal with her case in the cruellest way would be to do so on a partial hearing of the facts at hand and not upon any form of justice as I understand the concept.
For the second time, Mr Widodo, I would ask you to raise yourself above the threshold of all those in power that merely pretend to make changes for the better. To my mind, your election platform promises of moves toward a more egalitarian civic structure means protection at all levels – and capital punishment can only take things backwards in that respect.
I ask you to please keep these promises at the forefront of your mind and urgently give your attention to Lindsay Sandiford’s plight.
In peace and hope, as ever
Mark ‘Barney’ Greenway (Napalm Death)
President Widodo has taken a particularly hard stance towards people on death row for narcotics offences, insisting they will not receive a presidential pardon as Indonesia is facing an "emergency" due to high levels of drug use. He has yet to respond to the vocalist’s plea.