An Indonesian firing squad executed eight drug traffickers, including seven foreigners, in the early hours of Wednesday, sparking condemnation from Australia and Brazil who had made final, desperate pleas to save their nationals.
More than two dozen human rights organizations and criminal justice reform groups from around the globe joined together in a full-throated condemnation of the executions.
Along with Australians, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, four Nigerian men, an Indonesian and a Brazilian were executed on the Indonesian prison island of Nusa Kambangan. Mary Jane Veloso, a Filipina, was also scheduled to die, but had her execution postponed at the last minute.
Both Australia and Brazil oppose capital punishment and have railed against Indonesian President Joko Widodo's move to step up the pace of executions, after a five-year moratorium, since coming to office last July.
Australia said it was recalling its ambassador to Jakarta, a step already taken by Brazil over the execution of another prisoner in January. The south American country is now considering what further action it will take.
Recalling an ambassador is a step rarely taken by Australia, and never previously taken over a prisoner execution. However, Indonesia shrugged off this response. "It is just for a while, a month or two, to signify protest," Vice President Jusuf Kalla told reporters.
The Brazilian government said it was shocked by the news, which marked the second execution of a Brazilian in Indonesia in three months despite President Dilma Rousseff’s personal humanitarian appeals.
More than two dozen human rights organizations and criminal justice reform groups sent a letter to US President Barack Obama and other high-ranking federal officials to condemn the executions.
"Wherever they occur, executions for nonviolent offenses violate human rights,” the letter, which include nearly 30 other non-governmental organizations from the United States and around the world, reads. The letter demands that the US should do more to ensure its international aid used in the fight against drug trafficking and does not contribute to cases in which people are put to death for nonviolent drug offenses.
Widodo has defended death penalties as inevitable for drug traffickers due to proliferation of drug usage in the country.
In January, six prisoners including one local were shot by firing squads on the island.This was the second shooting that took place in the same area this year.