Diplomatic fallout over Indonesia’s executions

Diplomatic fallout over Indonesia’s executions
Indonesian police patrolling the maximum security prison Nusa Kambangan in Central Java province prior to the scheduled executions of six drug convicts. The six, two of them women, were executed by firing squad, and were from Indonesia, Brazil, the Netherlands, Vietnam, Malawi and Nigeria.

INDONESIA'S execution of six people convicted of drug offences led three countries to recall their ambassadors and sparked a fierce debate, with some Indonesians calling for the death penalty to be abolished.

Nigeria joined Brazil and the Netherlands, which pulled out their envoys after Jakarta rejected their pleas and executed their nationals on Sunday.

Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Tedjo Edhy Purdijatno yesterday urged the countries to respect the legal process in Indonesia.

Representatives from eight main civil societies, including Migrant Care, jointly urged President Joko Widodo to revoke the law on the death penalty, saying it is out of step with modern times.

"We are a democratic country that has opened up the space to give freedom to many things, and having an inhumane punishment like the death penalty is a step backward," said Professor Hafid Abbas, chairman of the Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights.

The six people executed by firing squad, two of them women, were from Indonesia, Brazil, the Netherlands, Vietnam, Malawi and Nigeria. They had been sentenced between 2000 and 2011.

They were Indonesia's first series of executions since 2013 after a five-year gap. Of the 64 still on death row, 10 will be executed this year. The next batch of executions may take place next month.

Weighing in on the debate, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the death penalty will not solve Indonesia's drug problem.

Australia has two drug convicts, Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, on death row who are part of the "Bali Nine" smugglers.

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