Indonesia executes four convicted drug traffickers

Indonesia executed four convicted drug traffickers on Friday, a top prosecutor said, in the third such group execution since President Joko Widodo took office in October 2014. 

The convicts were shot by firing squad at the Nusa Kambangan penal island shortly after midnight amid pouring rain, the deputy attorney general for general crimes, Noor Rachmad, told reporters during a briefing broadcast live on television.

Rachmad identified the executed inmates as Freddy Budiman from Indonesia and Seck Osmane, Michael Titus and Humphrey Ejike - all from Nigeria. 

The attorney general's office had said late Wednesday that 14 convicts would be executed.

"The decision to stay the executions of the 10 convicts was made by the team on the ground, based on judicial and non-judicial considerations," Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo said, without elaborating. 

"Their executions will be carried out on a date to be decided later," he added. 

The executions came despite appeals for clemency from relatives of the convicts and calls for a halt to the death penalty from rights groups and the United Nations. 

"The execution of at least four people tonight by the Indonesian authorities is a deplorable act that violates international and Indonesian law," said Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International's director for South-East Asia and the Pacific.

"The injustice already done cannot be reversed, but there is still hope that it won't be compounded," said 

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged President Widodo "to consider declaring a moratorium on the use of the death penalty in Indonesia and to move towards its abolition," Ban's office said in a statement on Thursday.

Former president Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie also called for mercy in a letter sent to Widodo, the text of which has made rounds on social media. 

The Community Legal Aid Institute, which advocates for the convicts, had earlier said those facing execution were four Indonesians, six Nigerians, one Zimbabwean, one Senegalese, one Indian and one Pakistani. 

Local and international rights groups had urged Widodo not to go forward with the executions.  

They said that some of the convicts could have been victims of miscarriages of justice, after allegations that police used torture to extract confessions from suspects and that detainees were denied access to lawyers.

Attorney General Prasetyo brushed aside rights groups' criticism about a lack of integrity in some of the death penalty cases, saying that the legal process had been conducted "meticulously and properly." 

More than 100 people are currently on death row in Indonesia primarily for drug-related crimes, according to the Justice Ministry. Last year, the country executed 14 death row convicts. 

President Widodo has taken a tough stance against drug trafficking since his election in 2014, saying the country is facing a drug emergency.

Last update: Fri, 29/07/2016 - 07:14

More from World

Dozens of Iraqi civilians found dead outside of Mosul, the UN says

The bullet-ridden bodies of dozens of civilians have reportedly been found near Mosul by Iraqi security services,...

Turkey now top 10 destination for German arms amid refugee crisis

Turkey has jumped into the top 10 in the rankings of destinations for German arms exports as Ankara responds to...

Ground operation possible in Iraq, Turkish foreign minister says

Turkey would consider sending ground troops into Iraq, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.

Philippine leader resumes rebuke of US after arrival in Japan

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte slammed the United States soon after arriving in Japan Tuesday evening, calling...

Vatican: Cremating the dead is OK, but scattering of ashes is not

Catholics must not scatter the ashes of the dead or keep them at home, the Vatican reiterated in guidelines Tuesday...