JAKARTA (AFP) - Indonesia on Sunday put to death six people convicted of drugs offences, including five foreigners, in the first executions carried out under new President Joko Widodo.
Two women were among those executed by firing squad, in a move swiftly condemned by Amnesty International as “seriously regressive”.
The foreigners hailed from Brazil, the Netherlands, Vietnam, Malawi and Nigeria.
The European Union had earlier urged Jakarta not to go ahead with the executions, with foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini calling the plan “deeply regrettable”.
Indonesia has tough anti-drugs laws and Widodo, who took office in October, has disappointed rights activists by voicing strong support for capital punishment despite his image as a reformist.
All the prisoners, who had been sentenced to death between 2000 and 2011, were executed around the same time shortly after midnight, Tony Spontana, a spokesman for the attorney-general’s office, told AFP.
Vietnamese woman Tran Thi Bich Hanh was executed in Boyolali district in central Java, while five others were put to death on Nusakambangan Island, home to a high-security prison, off the south coast of the archipelago’s main island of Java.
They included an Indonesian woman, Rani Andriani, along with 53-year-old Brazilian Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira and 62-year-old Dutchman Ang Kiem Soei.
A Nigerian, Daniel Enemuo, and Namaona Denis, from Malawi, were also executed.
NO PRESIDENTIAL PARDONS
They were all caught attempting to smuggle drugs apart from the Dutchman, who was sentenced to death for operating a huge factory producing ecstasy.
All of them had their appeals for clemency to the President – their last chance to avoid the firing squad – rejected last month.
Jakarta halted capital punishment in 2008 but resumed executions again in 2013. There were no executions in Indonesia last year.
Widodo, known as Jokowi, has taken a particularly hard line towards people on death row for narcotics offences, insisting they will not receive a presidential pardon as Indonesia is facing an “emergency” due to high levels of drug use.
His tough stance has sparked concern for other foreigners sentenced to death, particularly two Australians who were part of the “Bali Nine” group caught trying to smuggle heroin out of Indonesia in 2005.
One of the pair, Myuran Sukumaran, also had his clemency appeal rejected last month but authorities say he will be executed with the second Australian – his accomplice Andrew Chan – as they committed their crime together.
Chan is still waiting for the outcome of his clemency appeal.
Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s research director for South-east Asia and the Pacific, said Sunday’s executions marked “a seriously regressive move and a very sad day.
“The new administration has taken office on the back of promises to make human rights a priority, but the execution of six people flies in the face of these commitments.”
He called on the government to halt plans for future executions. Authorities previously said that 20 were scheduled for this year.
Before the executions, the EU’s Mogherini had sought to ramp up pressure on Jakarta, describing the death penalty as “a cruel and inhumane punishment, which fails to act as a deterrent and represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity”.
Dutch Foreign Affairs spokesman Friso Wijnen last week insisted the Netherlands would “go to the highest levels” to prevent Ang being put to death.