29 July 2016
Indonesia declared on Friday that contrary to global belief that it executed 14 persons on drug offences, it actually executed four convicted drug traffickers, including three Nigerians in its “war against drugs”, and delayed action on 10 others.
As many as 14 people were originally set to face the firing squad together on Friday, but officials decided a “comprehensive review” was needed to “avoid any mistake” in the 10 cases, Attorney-General H. Muhammad Prasetyo said.
The date for the next round of executions has not been set, Prasetyo told reporters in Jakarta.
At least two prisoners among that group of 10, a Pakistani national and an Indonesian woman have applied for presidential clemency, their representatives said.
They said legal proceedings could take a long time.
Those executed – three Nigerians and an Indonesian man – 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.
“Our battle against drug crimes is not over and it will continue. We will maintain our commitment, our firmness and our consistency,” Prasetyo said.
Indonesia has become a “business field” for the production, distribution, importation and export of drugs, Prasetyo said.
Indonesia executed 14 prisoners, mostly foreign drugs offenders, just over a year ago, causing diplomatic outrage.
Rights activists and governments have again called on Indonesia to abolish the death penalty.
Those calls have gone unheeded and President Joko Widodo has said drugs posed as serious a threat as terrorism in what is one of Southeast Asia’s biggest markets for narcotics.
The president’s office often cites figures that drugs are killing at least 40 people a day, but several international experts have questioned the methodology used to arrive at those statistics.
The death penalty is widely accepted by the Indonesian public, but police had to break up a protest outside the prison on Thursday by members of a migrant workers group who called for mercy for the Indonesian woman who was scheduled to be executed.
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.
Around 152 people remain on death row in Indonesia, including convicted drug traffickers 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.
In Abuja, Human Rights Group, Amnesty International, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari and other global leaders to prevail on Indonesian President Widodo to stop the planned execution of five other Nigerians and the nine remaining drug convicts.
Representatives of the group staged a protest at the Indonesian Embassy where they presented a letter to the Indonesian government.
The interim Country Director of Amnesty International in Nigeria, Mr Makmid Kamara, said that the argument to go ahead with the execution lacks merit.
Mr Kamara explained that many of the prisoners were alleged for drug offences, which, in the group’s view, does not meet the most serious crimes threshold under international rights law to justify execution.