Norway urges Indonesia to abolish death penalty

Norway on Monday urged Indonesia to abolish the death penalty and welcomed indications that Jakarta is distancing itself from capital punishment.

“We encourage Indonesia to formally establish a moratorium with a view to abolishing the death penalty,” said Gry Larsen, state secretary of Norway‘s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, speaking at the annual Indonesia-Norway human rights dialogue in Jakarta.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said last month that the country was moving away from the death penalty in line with the global trend.

In October, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono commuted the death sentence for a man convicted of drug trafficking to life imprisonment. The move drew public criticism amid concerns of increasing drug use.

More than 100 people, about half of them foreigners and most of them convicted of drug trafficking, are on death row in Indonesia.

The country has not carried out an execution since 2008, when three people convicted of the 2002 Bali bombings were shot by firing squad.

Norwegian Crown Prince Haakon Magnus said in a speech at the start of the dialogue that Indonesia was in a position to help build birdges between nations, cultures and religions.

“The fact that more than 300 ethnic groups share one country and different religions and traditions are so intertwined make Indonesia a country worth listening to when it comes to these issues,” the crown prince said.

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