Indonesia planning to execute death-row convicts after Ramadan

Exterior of Nusakambangan maximum-security prison island in Central Java, Indonesia.
Exterior of Nusakambangan maximum-security prison island in Central Java, Indonesia.PHOTO: ST FILE

JAKARTA (AFP) - Indonesia plans to put 16 convicts to death after next month's Muslim Eid holiday, an official said on Tuesday (June 14), confirming executions were set to resume after a hiatus.

The death row convicts will be executed "immediately after" the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, Mr Mohammad Rum, a spokesman for the attorney-general's office, told AFP, but he did not give a precise date.

Ramadan ends with the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which falls in Indonesia on July 6 and July 7. Mr Rum did not say who would face the firing squad, but Indonesia has been waging a campaign against narcotics and in 2015 executed 14 drug convicts, mostly foreigners, sparking international outrage.

There have been no executions since April last year, with Indonesia saying it was pausing capital punishment to focus on fixing its slowing economy.

"We could not do it earlier because the government was trying to improve our economy, but now we will take some action after Eid," Mr Rum said.

Mr Rum said the convicts would likely be put to death by firing squad on the prison island of Nusakambangan, off Java, where executions are usually carried out.

There are scores of drug convicts on death row in Indonesia, among them foreigners including Frenchman Serge Atlaoui and Filipina Mary Jane Veloso, who were both pulled from the last round of executions.

British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford is on death row in Bali after she was caught smuggling a huge stash of cocaine into the resort island.

President Joko Widodo declared a war on drugs when he took office in 2014, saying that the country was facing an emergency due to rising narcotics use and traffickers should be severely punished.

There were two rounds of executions last year. The second round in April, which saw two Australians, a Brazilian and four Nigerians put to death, caused the most serious diplomatic backlash.

Following the executions of the Australian drug smugglers, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, Canberra temporarily recalled its ambassador from Jakarta.