Indonesian President Joko Widodo has called on police to kill drug dealers who resist arrest in what critics say is an attempt to burnish his credentials as a strongman leader among wavering voters.
In a statement, “Be firm, especially to foreign drug dealers who enter the country and resist arrest. Shoot them because we indeed are in a narcotics emergency position now,” Widodo said in a speech delivered at an event held by one of Indonesia’s political parties.
His remarks have drawn comparison to that of Philippine’s President Rodrigo Duterte, who launched a brutal anti-drug crackdown about a year ago that saw many alleged drug dealers killed.
If enacted, the new policy would closely follow that of Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte, who’s brutal war on drugs has left up to 8,000 people dead in just over a year.
Human rights activists condemned Widodo’s speech, but political analysts said it was likely to be well received inside Indonesia where hardline drug policies are popular.
Widodo is not the first high-level Indonesian official to call for extrajudicial killings of drug dealers in the past week.
National Police Chief General Tito Karnavian praised Duterte’s “war on drugs” in a speech Thursday, saying “we see that when we shoot at drug dealers, they go away.”
Indonesia also has tough laws against drugs. Widodo has previously been criticized for ordering executions against convicted drug traffickers who were given a death penalty by the court. Rights activists and some governments have called on Indonesia to abolish the death penalty.