Indonesia has executed six people, five of them foreigners, for drug trafficking despite international appeals to spare them.
The government defended the firing squad executions as necessary to combat the rising drug trade.
Four men, from Brazil, Malawi, Nigeria and the Netherlands, and an Indonesian woman were executed simultaneously in pairs just after midnight, several miles from a high-security prison on Nusakambangan island in Central Java province. The other woman, from Vietnam, was executed in Boyolali.
Their bodies were brought from the island by ambulances for burial or cremation, as requested by relatives and representatives of their embassies.
President Joko Widodo rejected their clemency requests in December and also refused a last-minute appeal by Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff and the Dutch government to spare their countrymen – Brazilian Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira, 53, and Ang Kiem Soe, 52, who was born in Papua but has Dutch nationality.
Dutch foreign minister Bert Koenders said today he had temporarily recalled the country’s ambassador to Indonesia and summoned Indonesia’s representative in The Hague to protest at Ang’s execution, which he said was carried out despite King Willem-Alexander and prime minister Mark Rutte personally contacting President Widodo.
He called the execution “a cruel and inhumane punishment ... an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity”.
Indonesia’s attorney general Muhammad Prasetyo has said there is no excuse for drug dealers and “hopefully, this will have a deterrent effect”.
Mr Prasetyo said the new government had a firm commitment to fight against drugs and Mr Widodo has said he would not grant clemency to 64 drug convicts on death row.
“What we do is merely aimed at protecting our nation from the danger of drugs,” Mr Prasetyo said. He said figures from the National Anti-Narcotic Agency showed 40 to 50 people die each day from drugs in Indonesia.
He said that drug trafficking rings had spread to many places, including remote villages where most victims are youngsters. Indonesia has become the largest drug market in south-east Asia with 45% of the region’s drugs in circulation.
A second batch of executions would be held later this year and also target drug smugglers, he warned.
Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago of 250 million people, has extremely strict drug laws and often executes smugglers. More than 138 people are on death row, mostly for drug crimes. About a third of them are foreigners.
Brazilian Moreira was arrested in 2003 after police at Jakarta airport found 13.4kg of cocaine hidden in his hang glider. A second Brazilian, Rodrigo Muxfeldt Gularte, remains on death row in Indonesia, also convicted of drug trafficking.
Soei was arrested near Jakarta in 2003, after police found equipment which they estimated had been producing 15,000 ecstasy pills a day for three years. Police confiscated 8,000 pills and thousands of dollars.
The others who were executed were Namaona Denis, 48, from Malawi, Daniel Enemuo, 38, from Nigeria, and Indonesian Rani Andriani.
Tran Bich Hanh of Vietnam asked authorities to let her face the firing squad uncuffed as one of her last wishes.