The Ambivalence of an Executioner

by indonotes

With global attention directed at Indonesia’s use of the death penalty, the Guardian carries a revealing piece about the ambivalence felt by a member of official firing squads:

“I don’t make conversation with the prisoners. I treat them like they are a member of my own family,” he explains, “I say only, ‘I’m sorry, I am just doing the job…’”

“I am bound by my oath as a soldier,” he said. “The prisoner violated the law and we are carrying out a command. We are just the executors. The question of whether it is sin or not is up to God…”

“I hope that I won’t have to keep doing this indefinitely. There are some 50 people on death row so it could be my turn to execute again,” he says. “I’m not that happy doing it … If there are other soldiers, let them do it.”