Words by: Jonathon Davidson
Six prisoners on drug charges within Indonesia were executed in the early hours of this morning just following midnight, spokesperson for the Indonesian Attorney General’s office Tony Spontana told reporters earlier today.
Two women and four men were subjected to firing squad. Of those six people, five were foreign citizens. One Indonesian national was amongst those executed.
Brazil, The Netherlands, Vietnam, Nigeria and Malawi today lost nationals under the authority of Joko Widodo, Indonesia’s recently elected president.
Widodo is universally known as Jokowi to Indonesian nationals.
Two Australian citizens – Myuran Sukamaran and Andrew Chan – remain on death row, sentenced for their involvement with the ‘Bali Nine‘ – an internationally recognized drug bust in which nine individuals attempted to smuggle slightly under nine kilograms of heroin into Australia in 2005.
The executions have stirred fears towards Indonesia’s capability and willingness to follow through on capital punishment.
The decision to revert back to a ‘hard-line’ stance is believed to come from a desire to refresh a zero tolerance stance towards drug trafficking, production and abuse within Indonesia, one of Widodo’s initial election promises.
Joko Widodo has denied the possibility of presidential pardon for Mr. Sukamaran, whose appeal for clemency was rejected last month. Mr. Chan still awaits final verdict.
Perhaps most notably of all, both Brazil and The Netherlands have pulled their ambassadors from Indonesia’s capital city Jakarta.
Reuters reported that both Brazil and The Netherlands have stated this will damage ties between the countries. The spokesperson for president of Brazil, Dilma Roussef, described her reaction to the administration of capital punishment “distressing”.
Yesterday, ABC reported that Tony Abbott had personally and directly appealed to President Joko Widodo to spare the lives of Mr. Sukamaran and Chan respectively.
Sky News reported on the 15th of December that an MP within Indonesia was urging President Widodo to “clear up” the fate of those two Bali Nine suspects still on death row.
These executions are the first to be performed under Widodo’s presidency. Reportedly, no executions were carried out in the year 2014, and four executions in 2013 were the first since 2008.