After five foreigners and one Indonesian citizen were executed by firing squad on early Sunday morning (18/01), diplomatic tensions have risen. Despite international appeals from Brazil and the Netherlands, the Indonesian government decided to go-ahead with the execution of six convicted drug traffickers, involving four men (from Brazil, the Netherlands, Malawi and Nigeria), and two women (from Indonesia and Vietnam). Brazil and the Netherlands have recalled their ambassadors from Jakarta.
Indonesian law still provides for the death penalty. After a de facto moratorium on executions between the years 2008 and 2013, Indonesia applied the death penalty again in 2013 (for Nigeria-born drug smuggler Adami Wilson). Amid international pressures former Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono spoke out against application of the death penalty. However, current President Joko Widodo ignored pleas for clemency and took a hard stance by allowing the executions to go-ahead. Indonesian authorities believe that such hard measures are required to combat drug related criminal activity in the world’s largest archipelago. It is estimated that each year between 40 to 50 people die in Indonesia from drugs-related reasons. Reportedly, the country has the largest drug market of Southeast Asia, with 45 percent of the region's drugs in circulation. Indonesian authorities said that more executions are in the pipeline this year, a statement that was regretted by human rights organizations such as Amnesty International. A total of 138 people are currently on death row in Indonesia, most of them (64) being drug convicts. Paradoxically, however, Indonesia regularly pursues clemency for its own citizens that are facing capital punishment abroad.
Brazilian authorities said that the execution of a Brazilian citizen severely affects international relations, while Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders called the execution “a cruel and inhuman punishment that amounts to an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity”. Meanwhile, Australia is pursuing efforts to save two convicted Australians from death row.
Those executed are Brazilian Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira, Papua-born (but Dutch citizen) Ang Kiem Soei, Malawian Namaona Denis, Nigerian Daniel Enemuo, Vietnamese Tran Bich Hanh, and Indonesian Rani Andriani. Five of them were executed at Nusakambangan prison (south of Java island) and one at Boyolali prison (Central Java).