Indonesia is a tough place to live. Its slums are overflowing with famine and disease, its climate is inhospitable, citizens often lack access to a basic education, and corruption is rampant. Further compounding the problem is the country’s dismal human rights record previously condemned on multiple occasions by human rights organizations and the United Nations. Indonesian authorities are notoriously corrupt and pay little respect to basic civil liberties. Now, the Indonesian government is taking this reputation a step further. Reports out of the country indicate that the country is considering using live animals as prison guards. Specifically, crocodiles native to the country will be used as prison guards.
Indonesia is not a place to get caught as a drug dealer. Drug dealers are frequently sentences to the death penalty and the country’s highest ranking officials have publically stated that they consider the drug problem in the country to be its most serious threat. Joko Widodo, the country’s president, recently stated that the nation is facing a “national emergency” in the form of a drug epidemic.
Budi Waseso, the head anti-drug enforcement agent in Indonesia, recently told the press that his agency wants to build a prison exclusively for prisons arrested and imprisoned for drug crimes. The prison will be surrounded by a moat filled with crocodiles that have a taste for human blood. “I will search for the most ferocious type of crocodile” said Waseso to the local news publication Tempo.
Since the comments, rumors quickly spread that Waseso is also considering putting tigers and piranhas on site to prevent inmates from escaping. Indonesian human rights activist Gita Suparman believes that the idea is a serious human rights violation. Her organization, Indonesians for the Basic Dignity of Prisoners Convicted of Nonviolent Offenses or IBDPCN, vows to fight the plan. She recently stated “this plan is serious and we should not treat it as a joke. The world is looking at Indonesia and is thinking how can a country do this to its citizens? We need to amend our ways to show the world that we treat everyone, even the world prisoner, with basic human rights and the dignity deserving of everyone on this planet and in Indonesia.
Others, however, disagree with Gita Suparman and her organization. Gema Pertiwi, a Jakarta native whose brother overdosed and died after battling a heroin addiction for nearly 6 years, believes that dealers need to be punished to prevent others from succumbing to the same fate as her brother. “Heroin dealers and cocaine dealers are a scourge on this country and should be hung up from a tree in the middle of Jakarta. I hate them for doing what they do all to make money. They drive fancy cars and live in giant houses all at the expense of people like my brother Wening. His drug dealer is still walking the streets because he paid the police. Crocodiles can not be paid off like the corrupt politicians and police in this country so maybe the crocodiles should go after him” said Pertiwi.