Indonesia to put to death six drug convicts in first executions under new President Joko

JAKARTA (AFP) - Indonesia will put to death six drug convicts, including four foreigners, at the weekend, the attorney general said Thursday, the first executions to be carried out under new President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's government.

Jokowi, who took office in October, has insisted that there will be no pardons for those convicted of drugs offences on death row, disappointing activists who had hoped the reformist leader would take a softer line on capital punishment.

The foreigners - from Brazil, Malawi, Vietnam and Nigeria - will be executed by firing squad on Sunday, said attorney general H.M. Prasetyo.

The two others to be executed are an Indonesian and a man whose nationality authorities said was unclear.

"This will send a message to members of drugs syndicates - there is no mercy for drug dealers and traffickers," he told reporters.

"For those who disagree with the death penalty, hopefully they can understand that what we are doing is simply to save our nation from the threat of narcotics."

Jakarta halted executions for five years from 2008 but resumed them again last year, prompting outrage from rights groups.

All six of those to be put to death had their appeals for clemency to the president - their last chance to avoid the firing squad - rejected on December 30, he said.

Five will be executed on an island housing a large prison off the coast of main Java island, while the sixth will be executed at a jail in central Java.

Two Australians, part of the "Bali Nine" group caught trying to smuggle heroin into Indonesia, and a British grandmother are on death row but are not among those being executed at the weekend.

One of the Australians, Myuran Sukumaran, also had his appeal for clemency rejected last month.

But Prasetyo said the law stipulated that he must be executed with the second Australian - his accomplice Andrew Chan - as they had committed their crime together.

Chan is still waiting for the outcome of his clemency appeal.

After Sukumaran's appeal was rejected, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott urged Indonesia not to put him to death.

Indonesia enforces some of the world's toughest punishments for narcotics offences and there is strong public support for putting drug traffickers to death.