Mercy pleas ignored as Indonesian executions go ahead

INDONESIA brushed aside last-minute appeals by foreign leaders and executed by firing squad six people convicted of drug trafficking, including five foreigners, sending a message that the new government will not compromise its tough approach to narcotics.
Police guard the ambulances taking the bodies for burial. Picture: GettyPolice guard the ambulances taking the bodies for burial. Picture: Getty
Police guard the ambulances taking the bodies for burial. Picture: Getty

Four men from Brazil, Malawi, Nigeria and the Netherlands and an Indonesian woman were shot to death just after midnight on Saturday, several miles from a high-security prison on Nusakambangan island.

The other, a woman, Tran Bich Hanh, from Vietnam, was executed in Boyolali, according to the attorney general office’s spokesman Tony Spontana.

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Their bodies were brought from the island by ambulances early yesterday, either for burial or cremation, as requested by relatives and representatives of their embassies.

Indonesian president Joko Widodo rejected their clemency requests in December. He also refused a last-minute appeal by Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff and the Dutch government to spare their countrymen – Brazilian Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira, 53, and Ang Kiem Soe, 52, who was born in Papua but whose nationality is Dutch.

Dutch foreign minister Bert Koenders said in a statement on Saturday that he had temporarily recalled the country’s ambassador to Indonesia and summoned Indonesia’s representative in The Hague to protest Ang’s execution.

He called the execution “a cruel and inhumane punishment … an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity.”

Ms Rousseff said she was outraged and appalled by the execution, according to a government statement.

Amnesty International said the first executions under Indonesia’s new president, who took office in November, were “a retrograde step” for human rights.

Indonesian attorney general Muhammad Prasetyo has said that “hopefully, this will have a deterrent effect”.

Mr Prasetyo said the new government had a firm commitment to fight against drugs. Mr Widodo has said he will not grant clemency to the dozens of drug convicts on death row.

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“What we do is merely aimed at protecting our nation from the danger of drugs,” Mr Prasetyo said.

He said figures from the National Anti-Narcotic Agency showed 40 to 50 people die each day from drugs in Indonesia.

A second batch of executions of drug smugglers will be held later this year. More than 138 people are on death row, mostly for drug crimes.

The others who were executed were Namaona Denis, 48, from Malawi; Daniel Enemuo, 38, from Nigeria; and Indonesian Rani Andriani.