Indonesia to ramp up executions after the holidays

Indonesian President Joko Widodo. Photograph:( Getty )

Reuters Jakarta Jun 14, 2016, 05.30 AM (IST)
Indonesia plans to execute 16 prisoners after the Muslim Eid al Fitr holidays next month, and more than double that number next year, a spokesman for the attorney general's office said today.

M. Rum told reporters there are 152 people on death row in the country, but that drug traffickers will be prioritised.

"In accordance with the budget we have, we plan (to execute) 16 this year and 30 next year," Rum said.

"President Joko Widodo has said the country is facing a narcotics emergency and this is our future generations," he added.

He declined to give details on who would face the firing squad next month.

Indonesia has harsh penalties for drug-related crimes, but temporarily halted executions after facing intense international criticism last year when it executed 14 people, mostly foreign drug traffickers.

 Widodo's refusal to pardon the prisoners, despite repeated pleas for mercy, sparked diplomatic tensions, most notably with Australia, which recalled its ambassador in protest at the execution of two of its citizens last April.

Attorney general spokesman Rum said drug-related cases involved "many" foreigners, but declined to comment on whether any would face execution this year.

A 59-year-old British woman, Lindsay Sandiford, was sentenced to death after being convicted in 2013 of trying to smuggle cocaine worth $2.5 million into the country.

A Philippine maid, Mary Jane Veloso, got a last-minute reprieve last year in response to a request from Manila after an employment recruiter, whom Veloso had accused of planting drugs in her luggage, gave herself up to police in the Philippines.