INDONESIA executed four prisoners convicted for drug offenses on Friday, despite international calls this past week to put a halt to executions.
The country’s deputy attorney-general Noor Rachmad told members of the press outside the Nusakambangan prison that one Indonesian and three Africans were executed by firing squad not long after midnight, local time, during a thunderstorm.
“It was not a pleasant thing, but it was to implement the law,” he said, adding: “The executions are only aimed at halting drug crimes.”
Earlier this week, it was announced that there were to be 14 prisoners executed in this latest round, but Rachmad said authorities have yet to decide on the fate of 10 others currently on death row, comprising citizens of India, Pakistan, and Zimbabwe.
On Friday, an official said that the planned executions would go through “in stages”, declining to specify a time frame, reported the Jakarta Globe.
Among the four executed were: Indonesian Freddy Budiman; Seck Osmane from Senegal; and Nigerians Michael Titus Igweh and Humphrey Jefferson Ejike.
The bodies of Osmane and Igweh will be flown back to their respective countries, while Ejike will be buried in Indonesia.
In Ejike’s case, his legal team alleged that his execution was unjust.
According to Reuters, Ejike’s legal counsel Raynov Tumorang said in a text message: “At this stage, we can only say that we are extremely disappointed with the fact that Jeff was executed.”
“There is strong evidence of torture and he was not given a fair trial. Racism towards our client can be seen in the court decision,” he added.
This past week, the respective governments and family members of the death row inmates have appealed to the Indonesian government to spare the lives of the prisoners, but their pleas appear to have fallen on deaf ears.
Human rights and lawyer groups have also questioned whether the prisoners were given fair trial, in addition to raising allegations of abuse and torture.
Indonesia: Execution of four people tonight 'deplorable act' https://t.co/tw9VwQfWIv
— AmnestyUK Media Team (@NewsFromAmnesty) July 28, 2016
After receiving confirmation of the executions, Amnesty International issued a statement calling them “deplorable”.
Rafendi Djamin, the group’s director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said: “The execution of at least four people tonight by the Indonesian authorities is a deplorable act that violates international law. Any executions that are still to take place must be halted immediately. The injustice already done cannot be reversed, but there is still hope that it won’t be compounded.”
Last year, Indonesia executed 14 death row inmates, many of them foreigners convicted for drug offenses.
Indonesian president Joko Widodo has defended the country’s continued use of the death penalty, calling it a necessity in the war against drugs.