Indonesia executes drug convicts
Updated: 2015-04-29 09:32
A supporter of two Australian convicted drug traffickers facing execution in Indonesia wipes a tear during a vigil in Sydney, Australia, April 28, 2015.[Photo/Agencies]
CILACAP, Indonesia - An Indonesian firing squad executed eight convicted drug-traffickers from several countries on Wednesday, prompting Australia to recall its envoy to Jakarta and bringing an angry reaction from Brazil.
The leaders of Australia and Brazil had made personal appeals for clemency for their citizens among the group, raising the stakes for Indonesia's new president, Joko Widodo.
Australia has deep commercial and political ties with its big neighbour, while Brazil has a $5 billion trade surplus with Southeast Asia's biggest economy. Brazil is also at risk of losing a major military export deal to Indonesia over the executions row.
Both countries oppose capital punishment and have railed against Widodo's move to step up the pace of executions, after a five-year moratorium, since coming to office last July.
"We respect Indonesia's sovereignty but we do deplore what's been done and this cannot be simply business as usual," Prime Minister Tony Abbott told reporters in Canberra.
He said ambassador Paul Gibson would return to Australia by the end of the week.
"I want to stress that this is a very important relationship between Australia and Indonesia but it has suffered as a result of what's been done over the last few hours."
Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan were executed by firing squad along with four Nigerians, a Brazilian and an Indonesian shortly after midnight on Wednesday.
Charlie Burrows, religious counsellor to the Brazilian convict who was with the prisoners before the execution said all eight had refused blindfolds before they were shot.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Australia had yet to receive confirmation of the executions from Indonesia. Despite the lack of formal notification, media showed pictures of ambulances carrying the wooden coffins of the dead for the journey back to the Javanese port of Cilacap.
Recalling an ambassador is a step rarely taken by Australia, and never previously taken over a prisoner execution. Still, Abbott cautioned against a trade or tourism boycott, as the hashtag #boycottIndonesia trended on twitter.