INDONESIA - Death By Firing Squad

Execution by firing squad is the common capital punishment method used in Indonesia for a number of crimes including drug trafficking. The barbaric and cruel method has remained unchanged since 1964. Most prisoners on death row in Indonesia have been waiting more than ten years for execution.

The condemned prisoners are notified only 72 hours before their pending execution by firing squad. The prisoners are then transfered to a remote island location. In the middle of the night they They are and taken to an undisclosed isolated location to be executed by firing squad.

Firing squads are made up of 12 executioners from the paramilitary forces. Three have rifles loaded with live ammunition, while the other nine are (allegedly) loaded with blanks.

The condemned prisoner is blindfolded, usually wearing a a white shirt the prisoner is asked if he/she wishes to kneel, sit or stand. The prisoner is walked to the execution site by a priest/cleric and given three minutes to calm down. (Trying to calm down is virtually impossible knowing the State is about to kill you).

A doctor places a mark on the white shirt above the heart. After the final check is completed the commander yells out - "Do It" - to 12 executioners who are standing and aiming their rifles at the prisoner, within a 5-10 metre range. The executioners then fire at the prisoner's heart - but things do go wrong - sometimes the shooters miss the target.

If the execution goes to plan, the prisoner's heart, blood vessels and lungs are ruptured by the bullets. The prisoner's blood and tissues are torn and scattered from the body, the prisoner loses consciousness when shock causes a fall in the supply of blood to the brain, and the prisoner eventually dies as a result of blood loss.

If the shooters miss the heart, by accident or intention, the prisoner bleeds to death slowly. After several minutes, if the prisoner is still alive or is moaning in pain, the Commander has to fire another shot to the prisoner's head or neck at close range (aka coup de grâce) to finish off the killing.

A witness to an Indonesian execution by firing squad, Catholic priest Charlie Burrows, recently echoed the moans of two prisoners. "They were moaning again and again for seven minutes," he told Indonesia's Constitutional Court. "I think it is cruel, the torture," he said. Desperate to provide some sort of consolation to the two prisoners, Father Burrows sang 'Amazing Grace' as the pair slowly died from bullet wounds. They were pronounced dead 10 minutes after being executed by firing squad.