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Blurring the trail to the drug lords

JAKARTA (UCAN): Amnesty International claims that the number of suspected drug traffickers killed by authorities in Indonesia has increased significantly since last year as a result of a shoot-on-sight policy. 
Bramantya Basuki said on August 15 following the recent fatal shooting of two suspected drug traffickers, “A total of 61 Indonesians and foreigners have been shot dead by law enforcement officers since January this year. Last year, there were 13 suspected drug traffickers killed.” 
On August 12, a suspect was killed by police in North Sumatra while a day earlier, another was killed in East Java.
Basuki explained that shooting is supposed to be a last option resorted to only if law enforcement officers’ lives are at risk. However, lack of transparency makes it difficult to judge whether this is what happened in all these cases.
In July, following the shooting of a suspected Taiwanese drug trafficker in Banten, the president, Joko Widodo, told law enforcement officers “to be firm especially on foreign drug traffickers entering the country and resisting arrest” and “to shoot them and give them no mercy.”
The president’s comments raised fears of a drug war breaking out similar to the one being waged by the president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, which has resulted in the deaths of at least 8,000 people.
Alian Setiadi, the director of Bandar Lampung Legal Aid Agency, wondered, “Can the president guarantee that it will eliminate drug trafficking? How can we search for drug lords if their couriers are shot dead?” 
Setiadi said he has received many complaints from the victims’ families.
“They were shocked. They did not believe that their family members were drug traffickers,” he concluded.

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