The execution of eight individuals for drug related offences caused a huge stir around the World. Indonesia has since been condemned by all and sundry for these executions. Over the years, we have noticed a trend where countries are gradually doing away with the death penalty. Individuals who commit various nefarious acts are instead sentenced to longer years in jail, sometimes without parole, in exchange for the death penalty. The debate will probably continue in the future about the pros and cons of the death penalty.

Human life is sacred and the fact that an individual can pass a judgement for a suspect to be executed sounds extreme. The trouble however is that some innocent lives could potentially be lost because they had a bad defense team or were falsely accused of crimes they knew nothing about. Individuals with the best defense attorneys stand a better chance in court. For those who have a poor defense team, the outcome is almost always predictable. There have been cases in which convicts who were sentenced to very long-term in prison have been found to be innocent and subsequently released following retrial, successful appeals or emergence of new evidence exonerating these individuals. If they had been subjected to the death penalty and hastily executed, they probably would have been long dead before their innocence was proven. For many, after their execution, the case is usually never reopened; these cases may be permanently locked up in the history books. The idea that a wrongly accused convict could have a chance to redeem himself and start afresh offer hope to those against the idea of capital punishment.

Individuals from a certain social, ethnic or racial background are likely going to have tougher sentences in some societies. The murder of a wealthy and influential person in the society is likely to carry much stiffer punishment (especially if the killer has a lower societal standing) compared to another similar case where the victim has a low social status. Punishments are meted out unevenly depending on the social standing of the victim and the offender. It is not uncommon to see poorer men and women or men from a certain racial background having stiffer punishment in court, sometimes even death. And don’t forget, these suspects are left open to the dangers of human errors or misjudgment of the investigators.

Indonesia and some other countries have made it a law that anyone involved in certain criminal offences get the death penalty. Drug related offences are part of the long list. The punishment is clear and precise, supposedly to serve as a warning to anyone who intends to engage in such activities. However, this does not seem to deter many people from taking the risk. People who go on to move drugs into these countries do so with the aim of getting rich very quickly, to drive the fastest and finest cars and of course live in luxurious houses. This comes with the added incentive of having the finest ladies flocking around them. After all, as a popular comedian once said, prayer moves heaven but money moves earth. This seems like a perfect scenario; a classical utopian world.

Working hard is not always seen as the best way to go about life anymore or probably it is difficult to work hard. So it is not uncommon to see men and women of different demographic distribution traveling to these countries as carriers of illicit drugs. It is usually a case of the higher the risk, the larger the reward. Many are lucky and succeed but some are not so lucky.

While it cannot be ruled out that some of those accused may be innocent, it must be said that anyone who decides to engage in carrying these illicit drugs should take full responsibility when they are caught. Carrying drugs to countries that have an established punishment for such offences is only asking for trouble. While we continue to criticise these countries that sentence these offenders, the real question should be, why would anyone decide to carry these substances to these countries when the potential punishment has been spelt out even before the substances are lifted? I, therefore, want to assume that they do this with a full knowledge and acceptance of the possible consequence of what could happen if they are caught. Therefore, I see it as an act of epic lunacy for anyone to take drugs to those countries and expect some form of clemency and sympathy when they are caught.

Finally, the dangers of drug consumption are well documented. Many people have lost their families, fame, fortune and friends because they got involved in the dangerous habit of consuming these hard drugs. Many have also contacted life threatening illnesses through sharing needles during the process of consuming these drugs. Unfortunately, many lose their lives from drug overdose. We only hear about the famous celebrities who are always the focus of media attention. The ordinary man or woman on the street who is an addict is usually not remembered or mentioned when they die because no one knew him or her. Ironically, the society sees those suffering from addiction as culprits rather than people who need help. Perhaps, the real question should be how did they get these drugs and who provided them? How do we get these drugs off the market and rehabilitate addicts? Those who make these drugs available for their financial gains should be made to face the music. After all, it is logical to say that if there are no drugs to buy, there will probably be no addicts.