Although Indonesian courts regularly sentence people convicted of serious crimes such as drug traffickers to death, executions rarely take place. Two Indian drug dealers were shot in 2004 but this was a rare occurrence. It seems that the state doesn’t really like the palaver that comes with executions and would rather just leave the condemned to ponder on life in their tiny little prison cells.
But executions of criminals are not unique to Indonesia of course. The US had 59 convicted murderers executed in 2004. Strangely, however, what has attracted the attention of webbrowsers is not so much the crimes themselves but the bizarre last meals ritual.
For years, the details of executed killers' final meals were the most popular feature of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's official Web site. But now the menus - posted for most of the 313 killers executed since 1982 -- are history, dropped from the newly redesigned web site by an image-conscious agency stung by claims the site was tasteless and demeaning.
Fortunately, however, The Memory Hole has preserved much of the list. It makes for macabre but fascinating reading. Imminent death didn’t dampen Kenneth McDuff’s appetite: he still managed to put away two 16 ounce T-bone steaks, five fried eggs, as well as vegetables, french fries, coconut pie and one large Coke.
As for those on death row in Indonesia? Well, US steak may be off the menu, but there are a multitude of local dishes they could ask for; all best washed down with a nice cold Bintang of course!