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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Monday, May 28, 2018

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Indonesia draws international ire after deciding to execute drug convicts

Execution of 14 foreign nationals

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CILACAP, Indonesia – The Indonesian government has decided to proceed with the execution of 14 foreign nationals who have been convicted of drug crimes, despite widespread criticism and protests.> Big News Network

Those listed for death penalty include four Indonesians, six Nigerians, two Zimbabweans, one Indian and one Pakistani.

Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo has said in a statement, “We understand that there is a camp that does not agree with us, but no matter what, this is not a pleasant work but it still has to be done.”

Clemency petitions repeatedly offered by governments, human right organisations and lawyers to the current President Joko Widodo have not received a favourable response.

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, expressed his displeasure at the decision of the country and appealed that the practice of execution be brought to an end.

Criticisms about the executions stem from doubts about whether the convicts were accorded a free and fair trial.

Calling the death penalty ‘an unacceptable denial of human dignity,’ the European Union has urged Indonesia to “consider joining the wide community of over 140 states that have abolished the death penalty entirely or have adopted a moratorium.”

A spokesperson for the EU foreign policy chief said in a statement, “The death penalty is a cruel and inhumane punishment, which fails to act as a deterrent and represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity.”

Muhammad Rum, a spokesman for Indonesia's attorney-general has said that the executions are the “implementation of positive laws and will not be delayed or stopped. All the cases have gone through a long legal process including appeals. They all have been given chances at all stages.”

Indonesia has one of the toughest drug laws in the world. A moratorium previously passed on death penalty soon saw suspension in 2013.

The prisoners are currently being kept in Nusa Kambangan prison island where they will be executed by a firing squad.

On Thursday, over 17 ambulances have been ferried over to the prison and provisions have been made for a Catholic priest to visit the Nigerian convicts.

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