The Indonesian government shot to death eight people for drug offenses yesterday (April 28).
Seven foreigners, one Indonesian were executed by firing squad. The families were hysterical when they heard the shots fired.
The victims sang “Amazing Grace” as they shot to death while tied to poles in a field. They all rejected an offer of blindfolds. Each had victim had its own firing squad — 12 riflemen with bullets, one with a blank. It was dark, just after midnight. A flashlighth was aimed at each heart. The shots — nearly 100 in all — were fired at once.
“The executions have been successfully implemented, perfectly. All worked, no misses,” boasted Indonesia’s Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo.
Australia withdrew its ambassador to protest the killings. Two murder victims — Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran — were Australians. Four were Nigerians. One was Brazilian. One was Indonesian.
The drugs in the cases were heroin, marijuana and meth.
Indonesia delayed the murders of Mary Jane Veloso, 30, a maid from the Phillipines, and Serge Atlaoui, 51, a machinist from France.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who has ordered more executions since taking office in 2013, said the last-minute reprieve of Veloso is only temporary. The Frenchman was recently allowed to make a legal appeal of his sentence but the reprieve is expected to be short and unsuccessful.
Executing drug offenders is a violation of international law. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is from South Korea, tried to stop the executions.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has warm relations with Indonesia drug forces.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has increased support of the Indonesia crackdown and held its annual international drug conference there in 2012. (See this DEA advertisement to hire a chauffeur to drive its Attaché around Jakarta.)
Worldwide, capital punishment is used frequently — perhaps primarily — against drug offenders. China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Singapore are among the countries that murder drug offenders. Two-thirds of Iran’s executions, for example, are against drug offenders.
Vietnam executes drug offenders but is considering reducing the number of offenses for which the death penalty applies.
Executing drug offenders is politically popular in Indonesia, and Widodo has used murdering drug offenders as a way to boost his political support. A “Boycott Bali” effort has begun in Australian to pressure Widodo to stop the killings.
Nigerian gospel singer Okwudili Ayotanze, 41, who was among those executed in Indonesia (for being a heroin courier), can be be seen in this video singing an original composition, “God You Know (All My Ways).”