Indonesia Executes Six For Drug Trafficking

Jan 18, 2015 09:35 AM EST
Warning Sign For Drug Traffickers
A sign warns would-be drug traffickers at Jakarta Airport in Indonesia.

The Indonesian government has executed six people on drug trafficking charges by firing squad as a way to combat the rising drug trade.

Five foreigners and an Indonesian woman were shot to death in pairs just after midnight Saturday, according to ABC News. Four men came from Brazil, Malawi, Nigeria and the Netherlands. They along with an Indonesian woman were killed several kilometers away from a high security prison on Nusakambangan Island. Another woman from Vietnam was executed in Boyolali, said the Attorney General spokesman Tony Spontana. Both execution locations are in the Central Java province. 

Authorities brought their bodies from the island by ambulances Sunday for burial or cremation as requested by their relatives or embassies. 

President Joko Widodo took office in October and rejected their clemency requests in order to maintain Indonesia's hard-line stance toward drug offenders, Voice of America reported. Both the Brazilian and Dutch governments made last-minute appeals, but now they have recalled their ambassadors for consultations. 

Human rights activist group Amnesty International said the death penalty violates human rights. They said the new government's promise to improve respect for human rights has regressed after the six executions. After a five-year gap, the Indonesian government resumed capital punishment in 2013. It did not execute anyone in 2014, but its says it will conduct more this year. 

Indonesia, with its 250 million people, has strict drug laws, according to ABC News. More than 138 people are on death row, mainly for drug crimes, and about a third of them are foreigners. 

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