24 August 2019
EXECUTED: Myuran Sukumaran (left) and Andrew Chan. SPARED: Mary Jane Veloso. Photos: AFP
EXECUTED: Myuran Sukumaran (left) and Andrew Chan. SPARED: Mary Jane Veloso. Photos: AFP

Indonesia executes 8 drug traffickers, Filipina spared

An Indonesian firing squad executed eight convicted drug-traffickers from several countries Wednesday, Reuters reported.

But it unexpectedly spared a Filipina who was on death row with them.

Australia recalled its envoy to Jakarta, and Brazil expressed displeasure.

The leaders of both countries had made personal appeals for clemency for their citizens among the group.

Indonesia’s new president, Joko Widodo, has stepped up the pace of executions since coming to office.

Australia has deep commercial and political ties with its big neighbor, while Brazil has a US$5 billion trade surplus with Southeast Asia’s biggest economy.

Brazil is at risk of losing a major military export deal to Indonesia because of the dispute over the executions.

Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan were executed by firing squad along with six other drug convicts from several countries shortly after midnight.

Charlie Burrows, religious counsellor to the Brazilian convict, was with the prisoners before the execution, and he confirmed to reporters that they were shot dead.

“We respect Indonesia’s sovereignty, but we do deplore what’s been done and this cannot be simply business as usual,” Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told media in Canberra.

“I want to stress that this is a very important relationship between Australia and Indonesia, but it has suffered as a result of what’s been done over the last few hours.”

Recalling an ambassador is a step rarely taken by Australia, and never previously taken over a prisoner execution.

Abbott cautioned against a trade or tourism boycott, as the hashtag #boycottIndonesia trended on Twitter.

The Brazilian government said in a statement it was shocked by the news.

It was the second execution of a Brazilian in Indonesia in three months despite President Dilma Rousseff’s personal humanitarian appeals.

Brazil’s foreign ministry said it had no plans at present to replace its former ambassador in Jakarta, who was recalled after the first execution in January.

“Given the lack of a satisfactory reply to our appeals, this has to be evaluated to decide what attitude we will adopt towards Indonesia from now on,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergio Franca Danese told reporters.

Jakarta rejected last-ditch pleas from around the world for clemency to be granted to the eight drug traffickers, who also included nationals of Nigeria and Indonesia.

However, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office said it had delayed the execution of Mary Jane Veloso, a domestic helper and mother of two who was arrested in 2010 after she arrived in Indonesia with 2.6 kilograms of heroin hidden in her suitcase.

He said the delay came in response to a request from Manila after an employment recruiter, whom Veloso had accused of planting the drugs in her luggage, gave herself up to police in the Philippines Tuesday.

Supporters holding a vigil for Veloso outside the Indonesian embassy in Manila cheered and clapped on hearing the news.

Amnesty International said the executions were “utterly reprehensible”.

“The execution of eight people in Indonesia today shows complete disregard for due process and human rights safeguards,” it said in a statement.

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