Nigeria News

Virgin CEO calls for pardon of drug offenders on death row in Indonesia

The convicted drug offenders on death row in Indonesia have had yet another person of influence pleading their case – Virgin group founder, Sir Richard Branson.

Branson joins several others, including the Australian government and our very own President Goodluck Jonathan in the call for clemency on the condemned prisoners.

Nigerian, Agbaje Salami and Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan are those who are currently awaiting execution in Indonesia after being found guilty of drug trafficking.

Branson, a member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy had earlier spoken in favour of decriminalising the use and possession of drugs and offered to personally travel to Indonesia to share the body's research findings; including observing that countries who still carry out executions have not seen a significant shift in supply and demand, with Indonesia's president, Joko Widodo .

Said Branson,

"The drug trade remains remarkably unaffected by the threat of capital punishment. Furthermore, if you use the death penalty it removes any chance of forgiveness for the remorseful and in this particular case, there are several of the defendants who have expressed enormous regret for their offences."

He said further:

"What we have learned is that treating drugs as a health issue — not as a criminal issue — actually helps lower the number of drug deaths. It limits the spread of infectious diseases like HIV and AIDS or Hepatitis C, it reduces drug-related crime, and it allows people who struggle with addiction to become useful members of society again. We would love to be able to show the Indonesian government how countries like Portugal and others have completely overcome their drug problem by taking a very, very different approach."

According to a Mashable, in response to the calls, the coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, Tedjo Edhy Purdijatno, said Indonesia could release a "human tsunami" of 10,000 asylum seekers.

A total of 10 men are scheduled to be executed by firing squad for smuggling drugs. There is however no word yet from Indonesia about when the executions will occur.

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