Respect Indonesia's legal sovereignty, says Jokowi

Respect Indonesia's legal sovereignty, says Jokowi

President Joko Widodo has shrugged off an unprecedented move by Australia to withdraw its ambassador from Indonesia in protest against the execution of two of its citizens.

Early yesterday morning, minutes after midnight, Indonesia put two Australians, one Brazilian, four Africans and one Indonesian, all convicted drug traffickers, before a firing squad, despite repeated appeals from foreign countries for mercy.

"This is our legal sovereignty," Mr Joko flatly told a reporter who asked him hours later about the implications for Indonesia, given the opposition from overseas to the executions. "I do not want to repeat. Don't ask me that again." Mr Joko, however, was quick to appeal to Australia to respect Indonesia's legal sovereignty as his country respects theirs.

Indonesia had planned to execute 10 death-row inmates, but revised it to nine on Monday, excluding a French national who filed an appeal challenging Mr Joko's rejection of his clemency request. His case is being heard and a ruling is expected within two weeks.

Late on Tuesday, the government decided to delay the execution of Filipina Mary Jane Veloso after it was informed that her recruiter had turned herself in.

Attorney-General Muhammad Prasetyo stressed that Veloso's execution was not cancelled but delayed, pending the outcome of the legal process in the Philippines.

The condemned men reportedly refused blindfolds and sang hymns, including Amazing Grace, as they faced the firing squad at the Nusakambangan prison, Agence France-Presse reported.

Analysts said the tension between Jakarta and Canberra over the executions would ease quickly. "Indonesia-Australia relations are very special and too important to be affected by this," international relations expert Bantarto Bandoro told The Straits Times.

This article was first published on April 30, 2015.
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