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Friday, July 29, 2016, 12:11

Indonesia executes 4 people convicted of drug crimes

By Associated Press

Indonesia executes 4 people convicted of drug crimes
Police officers stand guard as a convoy of ambulances carrying the bodies of drug traffickers drive past by at Wijaya Pura port upon arrival from the prison island of Nusakambangan in Cilacap, Central Java, Indonesia, July 29, 2016. (AP Photo / Agus Fitrah)
CILACAP, Indonesia — Indonesia executed four people convicted of drug crimes on Friday despite international protests and said it would decide later when as many as 10 others are put to death.

One Indonesian and three Nigerians were executed by firing squad not long after midnight local time as torrential rains hit the Nusa Kambangan prison island where the death row inmates were held.

The government had said earlier in the week that 14 people on death row, mostly foreigners, would be executed for drug crimes.

Those executed were Indonesian Freddy Budiman and Nigerians Seck Osmane, Michael Titus and Humphrey Jefferson.

Relatives, rights groups and foreign governments had urged Indonesia to spare all 14 lives but it was unclear whether that had any influence on the decision to not carry out all the executions at once. Lawyers and rights groups had raised serious doubts about the legitimacy of the conviction of Jefferson, who had been in prison for more than a decade, as well as the convictions of an Indonesian woman Merri Utami and a Pakistani man Zulfikar Ali.

Ricky Gunawan, a lawyer from Community Legal Aid Institute who represented Jefferson and Utami, said there had been no explanation from officials about the decision to execute only some of the prisoners. But he said it was telling that Africans were eight of the 10 foreigners on the execution list and three of the four killed.

"They felt they were targeted by the government of Indonesia only because they are Nigerians, only because they are Africans, and their governments did not do anything" to help them, he said. "They felt they became an easy target to execute."

It was the third set of executions under President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo who was elected in 2014 and campaigned on promises to improve human rights in Indonesia.

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