Indonesia brushed aside last-minute appeals and executed eight people, including 4 Nigerians convicted of drug smuggling on Wednesday, although a Philippine woman was granted a reprieve.
Indonesian Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo confirmed at a news conference hours after the deaths had been widely reported that each of the eight had been executed simultaneously at 12:35 a.m. (1735 GMT) by a 13-member firing squad. Medical teams confirmed their deaths three minutes later, he said.
“The executions have been successfully implemented, perfectly. All worked, no misses,” he said of the deaths of two Australians, four Nigerians, a Brazilian and an Indonesian man.
Prasetyo dismissed concerns that Indonesia had done long-term damage to bilateral relations through the executions.
“It’s just a momentary reaction,” he said. “What we’re doing is carrying out court decisions.”
He said that the message was “do not try to smuggle drugs in Indonesia, because we will be harsh and firm against drug-related crimes.”
The dead convicts are now being buried. Australians Sukumaran and Chan requested that their bodies be flown back to Australia. Nigerian Martin Anderson chose to be buried in the West Java town of Bekasi, and fellow Nigerian Raheem Agbaje, wanted to be buried in the East Java town of Madiun where he had been a prisoner. Indonesian Zainal Abidin is to be buried in Cilacap.
The wishes of two other Nigerians — Sylvester Obiekwe Nwolise and Okwudili Oyatanze — as well as those of Gularte, the Brazilian, have yet to be made public.
Originally, 10 inmates were to be executed, but Frenchman Serge Atlaoui was excluded because he still had an outstanding court appeal against Jokowi’s rejection of his clemency application. The government says Atlaoui will face a firing squad alone if his appeal is rejected by the Administrative Court.
In reaction to the killings, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced that Australia will withdraw its ambassador from Jakarta in response to the executions of two Australians, Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31.
Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff said in a statement the execution of a second Brazilian citizen in Indonesia this year “marks a serious event in the relations between the two countries.”
Brazil had asked for a stay of execution for Rodrigo Gularte, 42, on humanitarian grounds because he was schizophrenic.
Mary Jane Veloso’s mother, Celia, said that the stay of execution for her daughter was nothing short of a miracle. Presidential spokesman Herminio Coloma thanked Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo for giving due consideration to the appeal of his Philippine counterpart, Benigno Aquino III.
He said the reprieve provides an opportunity for her testimony to expose how a criminal syndicate duped her into being an unwitting accomplice and courier in drug trafficking.
Jokowi’s predecessor, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, canceled a trip to Australia this week because of growing anger over the executions. He was to give a speech at the University of Western Australian in the city of Perth on Friday on Australia’s diplomatic and economic relationships with its Asia-Pacific neighbors, including Indonesia.
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