UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has joined an international outcry at Indonesia executing eight drug traffickers, causing Australia to withdraw its ambassador. Ban urged Jakarta to "commute all death sentences."
"The Secretary-General expresses deep regret at the executions carried out in Indonesia on 29 April despite numerous calls in the country and internationally for a reprieve," a statement from Ban Ki-moon's spokesman, Farhan Haq, said on Wednesday. "He again urges the government to exercise its authority and commute all death sentences."
Prior to Ban's statement, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said given that Indonesia had asked for clemency for its own nationals facing executions abroad, "it is incomprehensible why it absolutely refuses to grant clemency for lesser crimes on its own territory."
Eight men were executed by firing squad on Wednesday - two Australians, four Nigerians, a Brazilian and an Indonesian - prompting broad media coverage and a strong reaction from the Australian government in Canberra. Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced ahead of the executions that Ambassador Paul Grigson would be recalled from Jakarta if the executions of Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31, went ahead.
"We respect Indonesia's sovereignty, but we do deplore what's been done and this cannot be simply business as usual," Abbott said, following a step never previously taken by Australia in response to the execution of its citizens abroad.
French, Filippina convicts granted reprieve, for now
A French national, Serge Atlaoui, was granted a temporary reprieve for a legal appeal, following an appeal from President Francois Hollande. Similarly, a woman from the Philippines, Mary Jane Veloso, was given a reprieve to allow for continued police investigations into her case. The European Union, which opposes the death penalty as a point of principle, called for an immediate moratorium on all executions in Indonesia.
"We are dismayed at the latest series of executions in Indonesia," a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said. "As friends of Indonesia, we urge the government to take heed of the views expressed by many in the international community in recent days and declare an immediate moratorium on the use of the death penalty."
Ban's statement from the UN similarly referred to this, pointing to a December 2014 vote where a record 117 countries in the UN's General Assembly voted in favor of a moratorium on the death penalty: "The Secretary-General reaffirms his belief that the death penalty has no place in the 21st century," Ban's spokesman said.
Indonesia's President Joko Widodo, elected last year, argues that the tough sentences are necessary for the country's war on narcotics trafficking. The country's anti-narcotics agency claims that more than 30 Indonesians die every day due to drugs.
msh/lw (AFP, AP, Reuters)