Drug traffickers in Indonesia will be housed on an island prison surrounded by crocodiles, and then executed by the state, asserts Budi Waseso.
Waseso, the head of Indonesia’s anti-drugs agency, justified his plans due to the corruption involved with the drug trade; unlike prison guards, the saltwater predators cannot be persuaded to show compassion, nor be coerced into leniency. “You can’t bribe crocodiles,” Waseso noted, “You can’t convince them to let inmates escape”.
Indonesia has some of the harshest drug policies in the world, and regularly sentences traffickers to death. In April, the state executed eight drug convicts by tying their limbs to poles and shooting them repeatedly with M16 assault rifles.
Among those killed in this brutal manner, was Zainal Abidin, a 50 year-old man who was arrested in December 2000 for possessing 58 kilogrammes of marijuana. Despite no recorded deaths from marijuana use, the Indonesian government intends to guard convicts such as Abidin with a predator reptile that kills around 2,500 people annually, before shooting them to death.
As Waseso has outlined his plan to surround the prison with “the most ferocious type of crocodile”, it is important to look beyond the amusing headline. This story exemplifies the dehumanising nature of discourse around drug policy, particularly in the developing world. The story also exemplifies the irrationality that many governments are demonstrating in their implementation of the War on Drugs.
The Indonesian government, like many others, seems oblivious to the cause of corruption around drug trafficking; it is not fuelled by an inherent immorality of traffickers, but rather the intrinsically corrupting nature of prohibition.