IMPARSIAL (The Indonesian Human Rights Monitor) is deeply saddened by the death of Zulfiqar Ali, a Pakistani citizen, last Thursday, May 31st, 2018. Zulfiqar Ali died after battling stage IV liver cancer for the past five months. Zulfiqar Ali is a man of Pakistani nationality who was born in Lahore-Pakistan on January 1st, 1964 and works as a textile (garment) and Muslim clothing trader in Pasar Baru Jakarta. Zulfiqar Ali was sentenced to death on June 14th, 2005 (14 years ago) on charges of possession of narcotics (heroin) weighing 300 grams.
Zulfiqar Ali is a victim of an unfair trial. In the course of the case, there were many irregularities during the legal process and there was a strong suspicion that Zulfiqar Ali was actually innocent, such as not being given access to legal counsel during the investigation process despite the threat of punishment being charged to him for more than 5 years (death penalty), not being given access to the embassy. Pakistan, experiences various forms of violence and torture in the legal process, and the key witness in this case, Gurdip Singh, withdrew his testimony at trial that Zulfiqar Ali was not the owner of the 300g heroin and that he was not involved in the case at all.
In 2010, Prof. Dr. Hafid Abbas as the Head of the Human Rights Research and Development Agency (Kabalitbang) at the Ministry of Law and Human Rights has actually conducted an in-depth investigation into the Zulfiqar Ali case. This investigation concluded that Zulfiqar Ali was actually innocent and therefore recommended to the President to grant clemency and release Zulfiqar Ali as soon as possible from any punishment.
In July 2016, shortly before the third batch of executions, the 3rd Indonesian President Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie had even sent a letter to President Jokowi asking that Zulfiqar Ali not be executed. In October 2016, Komnas HAM had also called on the President to pardon Zulfiqar Ali and said that Zulfiqar Ali was innocent. Komnas HAM asked the President to immediately release Zulfiqar Ali from all punishments. Furthermore, in February 2018 the Chairman of Komnas HAM, Ahmad Taufan Damanik, also sent an official letter to the President recommending the President to grant clemency to Zulfiqar Ali as soon as possible on the basis of an unfair trial.
Previously, President Joko Widodo had promised to grant clemency (forgiveness) to Zulfiqar Ali after returning from his visit to Pakistan last January for humanitarian reasons, namely due to stage IV liver cancer suffered by Zulfiqar Ali. However, until his death, clemency from the President did not arrive due to the absence of consideration from the Supreme Court to the President. The consideration of the Supreme Court is a condition for the issuance of clemency by the President as described in Article 4 paragraph (1) of Law no. 22 of 2002 concerning Clemency.
Imparsial as Zulfiqar Ali's attorney, had previously submitted a request for clemency to President Joko Widodo on March 6th, 2018 through the Ministry of Law and Human Rights. Furthermore, on March 8th, 2018, Imparsial has also submitted a copy of the clemency application to the Tangerang District Court as the court of first instance that sentenced Zulfiqar Ali. Based on information from the Tangerang District Court, a copy of the dossier was also submitted and received by the Supreme Court on April 4th, 2018.
Article 10 of Law no. 5 of 2010 concerning Amendments to Law no. 22 of 2002 concerning Clemency reads as follows: "Within a period of no later than 30 (thirty) days from the date of receipt of the copy of the application and case file as referred to in Article 9, the Supreme Court shall send written considerations to the President". However, based on our confirmation to the State Secretariat, until now there has been no consideration from the Supreme Court regarding the request to the President. Thus, the Supreme Court has violated the time limit mandated by law to give consideration to the President regarding the request for clemency submitted by Zulfiqar Ali.
Imparsial deeply pity the attitude of the Supreme Court which was negligent in following up and giving consideration to Zulfiqar Ali's clemency request. The phenomenon of the Supreme Court's unprofessionalism did not just happen this time. It is still fresh in our minds about the case of slipping the application for a judicial review (PK) that was filed by Zainal Abidin for 10 years at the Supreme Court before Zainal Abidin was executed in 2015.
More than that, the State cannot escape responsibility for this problem. Zulfiqar Ali died last Thursday leaving behind his six children. Justice must still be given to Zulfiqar Ali and his family who have to bear the consequences of the unfair trial that Zulfiqar Ali received so that they have to languish in prison for a dozen years and eventually die. The state must clear the name of Zulfiqar Ali by providing rehabilitation.
On those basis, Imparsial:
- Urge the State to immediately provide justice to Zulfiqar Ali and his family by providing rehabilitation;
- Assessing that the Supreme Court has been negligent in reforming and improving its bureaucracy and demands that a total bureaucratic reform be carried out so that similar incidents do not happen again in the future.
Jakarta, June 8th, 2018
Al Araf, S.H., M.D.M