Indonesia executes four drug traffickers amid global outcry

10 additional convicts had their executions delayed at the 11th hour, while three Nigerians and one Indonesian woman were shot by firing squad.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Police escort an ambulance carrying the remains of an executed prisoner as it leaves the port of the prison island of Nusa Kambangan island, in Cilacap, Central Java, Indonesia July 29, 2016.

Four convicted drug traffickers, including three Nigerians were executed in Indonesia on Friday as part of its war against drugs, although another 10 scheduled executions were delayed. 

Attorney General H. Muhammad Prasetyo said as many as 14 people were originally set to face the firing squad together on Friday, but officials decided that a “comprehensive review” was needed to “avoid any mistakes” in the 10 cases.

The dates for the next set of executions has not been set yet, he added.

Those executed were shot during a thunderstorm shortly after midnight on Nusakambangan Island in Central Java.

The government ignored international calls for clemency and pushed ahead with its drive against narcotics.

At least two prisoners among the group of 10, a Pakistani national and an Indonesian woman have applied for presidential clemency, their representatives said. 

The Pakistani national's execution has been “stopped for now” according to the Pakistani Foreign Ministry due to diplomatic contacts between Pakistan and Indonesia. 

Indonesia has become a "business field' for the production, distribution, import and export of drugs, Prasetyo said. 

The death penalty has been widely accepted by the Indonesian public, but police had to break up a protest outside the prison on Thursday by members of a migrant group who called for mercy for the local woman who was scheduled to be executed. 

The execution follows pleas from rights activists and governments to abolish the death penalty.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon has urged the Indonesian President Joko Widodo to halt the execution of drug convicts and to declare a moratorium on the use of the death penalty. 

Ban recalled that under international law, the death penalty should be used for the most serious crimes and said, “drug crimes are generally not considered to meet this threshold.”

Amnesty International called the latest executions “a deplorable act that violates international and Indonesian law” and pleaded that the other death sentences not be carried out,

The calls to halt the executions have gone unheeded and Widodo has said that drugs pose as serious a threat as terrorism in what is one of Southeast Asia’s biggest markets for narcotics. 

It was the third set of executions under Widodo who was elected in 2014 and campaigned on promises to improve human rights in Indonesia.

Last year, Indonesia executed 14 prisoners, most of them foreign drug offenders causing global outcry, particularly in Australia which had two citizens among those condemned.

 Around 152 people remain on death row in Indonesia, including convicted drug offenders from the Philippines, France and Britain, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

Authorities plan to execute 16 prisoners this year and more than double that number in 2017. 

TRTWorld and agencies