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Australia recalls ambassador to Indonesia over executions

Jakarta's decision to execute seven foreigners for drug smuggling has stirred protest from abroad. Australia will withdraw its envoy to Indonesia over two of its citizens who were put to death, officials have said.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott called the executions of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, who were convicted as ringleaders of a heroin-trafficking gang, "both cruel and unnecessary."

"Cruel because both Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran spent some decade in jail before being executed and unnecessary because both of these young Australians were fully rehabilitated while in prison," he said.

Indonesian media reported that the pair from Australia, alongside four Nigerians, a Brazilian and an Indonesian man

have been shot by a firing squad

, shortly after midnight local time Wednesday. Eight ambulances carrying coffins were later seen driving through the area near the prison where they were held.

Speaking to reporters in Canberra just hours after the news of the executions, Prime Minister Abbot announced that Australia would recall its Indonesian ambassador for consultations.

"We respect Indonesia's sovereignty, but we do deplore what's been done, and this cannot be simply business as usual," Abbott said.

Ambassador Paul Gibson will return to Australia at the end of the week, officials say.

Executions 'reprehensible'

The London-based human rights watchdog Amnesty International also condemned Jakarta's execution of the prisoners, and called on Canberra to continue speaking out against capital punishment.

"These executions are utterly reprehensible," Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International's Research Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said in a statement.

Abbott stressed that the prisoners were killed despite having

at least two ongoing legal appeals

. In addition, he said that some of them had not been given access to competent lawyers or interpreters during their arrest and initial trial.

Icy tones between Brasilia and Jakarta

The Brazilian government expressed "deep dismay" over the execution of the Brazilian prisoner Rodrigo Gularte. According to his family, Gularte has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, making him unsuitable to face the firing squad.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergio Franca Danese said the government was "evaluating" its relationship with Indonesia after its repeated appeals for clemency were ignored.

The relations between Brazil and Indonesia already suffered a heavy blow when a Brazilian citizen was executed for drug-related offenses in January. After the incident, the Brazilian government recalled its ambassador to Jakarta.

Frenchman still at risk

A French citizen Serge Atlaoui, who was originally to be executed with the group, was granted a temporary reprieve Saturday night, pending a decision on a legal appeal.

The French authorities "are fully mobilized to help Serge Atlaoui, whose situation remains very worrying," French foreign ministry spokesman Romain Nadal said in a statement, while also expressing his government's "solidarity" with the countries who lost their citizens.

European Union, Australia and France had previously warned that the the executions would have an "impact on Indonesia's position in the world and its international reputation."

dj/gsw (AFP, Reuters, AP)

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