Indonesia defends executions as part of 'war' on drugs

2015-04-29 07:16
Chintu Sukumaran, left, brother of Myuran Sukumaran, an Australian on death row, arrives at Wijayapura ferry port to cross to the prison island of Nusakambangan, in Cilacap, Indonesia. (Tatan Syuflana, AP)

Chintu Sukumaran, left, brother of Myuran Sukumaran, an Australian on death row, arrives at Wijayapura ferry port to cross to the prison island of Nusakambangan, in Cilacap, Indonesia. (Tatan Syuflana, AP)

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Cilacap - Indonesia on Wednesday defended the execution of seven foreign drug convicts, with the attorney general saying that although the death penalty was not "pleasant" it was vital in waging a war against drugs.

"We are fighting a war against horrible drug crimes that threaten our nation's survival," Muhammad Prasetyo told reporters in Cilacap, the gateway to the high-security prison island of Nusakambangan where the executions took place.

President Joko Widodo, who has been a vocal supporter of the death penalty for drug traffickers, also defended the executions: "This is our rule of law, the rule of law concerning the death penalty. We also respect the laws of other countries."

Pleas and appeals

The eight convicts - two from Australia, one from Brazil, four from Africa, and one local - were put to death by firing squad early on Wednesday, along with one Indonesian, despite strident international appeals and pleas from family members.

A Filipina originally set to be executed was given an 11th hour reprieve.

"I would like to say that an execution is not a pleasant thing. It is not a fun job," Prasetyo said.

"But we must do it in order to save the nation from the danger of drugs. We are not making enemies of counties from where those executed came. What we are fighting against is drug-related crimes."

He also played down Australia's decision to recall its ambassador over the execution of its citizens, describing it as a "temporary reaction".

Read more on:    indonesia  |  narcotics
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