Indonesia recalls new envoy to Brazil amid death penalty row | News | DW | 21.02.2015
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Indonesia recalls new envoy to Brazil amid death penalty row

Indonesia has recalled its envoy to Brazil after the South American nation delayed finalizing his appointment. The countries are locked in a dispute over the planned execution of a Brazilian citizen for drug trafficking.

Indonesia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement Saturday it "strongly protested the unfriendly action" by Brazil's government and had recalled newly assigned ambassador, Toto Riyanto, who was selected for the post in October.

Riyanto was to present his credentials for approval during a ceremony at the presidential palace in Brasilia on Friday, but Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff (pictured above) decided to hold off on the step at the last minute.

"The manner in which the foreign minister of Brazil suddenly informed (us of) the postponement ... when the ambassador designate was already at the palace, is unacceptable to Indonesia," the Indonesian Foreign Ministry statement said.

Relations between the two countries have been tense since the execution of Brazilian national Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira last month. The 53-year-old was charged with drug smuggling in Indonesia was put before a firing squad, despite a personal appeal from Rousseff for clemency.

Brazil is now trying to prevent the execution of Brazilian citizen Rodrigo Gularte, 42, who is on death row for drug trafficking, along with a number of other foreigners from France, Ghana, Nigeria, the Philippines and Australia.

Jakarta has twice rejected appeals for mercy from Brazilian authorities, who have argued that Gularte is a paranoid schizophrenic and in need of psychiatric care. While no date has been given for the executions, Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla has indicated they could take place within the next few weeks.

Diplomatic tensions

Rodrigo Gularte

Rodrigo Gularte has been on death row since 2004 for smuggling cocaine

At the ceremony in Brasilia on Friday, Rousseff said the approval of the Indonesian representative would be "held up a little."

"We think it is important that there is an evolution in the situation in order to clarify the state of Indonesia's relations with Brazil," she said.

Indonesian foreign ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir told news agency AFP the case showed "immaturity for a head of state."

"As a sovereign and democratic country which has a legal system that is independent and impartial, no foreign country or any party can interfere with law enforcement in Indonesia, including in its law enforcement in combating drugs trafficking," an Indonesian foreign ministry statement added.

Indonesia has some of the strictest drug trafficking laws in the world, and Indonesian President Joko Widodo has repeatedly pledged to give no clemency to drug offenders.

Australia has also clashed with the southeast Asian nation over the planned execution of two Australian members of the "Bali Nine" drug smuggling ring. Jakarta had vowed to put the pair to death before the end of February, but agreed to a one month delay under heavy pressure from the Australian government.

nm/sms (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)

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