Fury as Indonesia executes foreigners by firing squad

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Indonesia put to death five foreigners and one local woman convicted of drugs offences on Sunday, unleashing a diplomatic storm as Brazil and the Netherlands condemned the execution of their citizens.

The executions—the first under Indonesia’s new President Joko Widodo—were carried out by firing squad on foreigners hailing from Brazil, the Netherlands, Vietnam, Malawi and Nigeria.

Indonesia has tough anti-drugs laws and Widodo, who took office in October, has disappointed rights activists by voicing strong support for capital punishment despite his image as a reformist.

A spokesman for Brazilian President Dilma Roussef said she was “distressed and outraged” after Indonesia defied her repeated pleas and put to death Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira, who was convicted of smuggling cocaine into Indonesia in 2004.

“Using the death penalty, which is increasingly rejected by the international community, seriously affects relations between our countries,” the spokesman said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders said the Netherlands had temporarily recalled its ambassador to Indonesia over the execution of Dutchman Ang Kiem Soei, and described all six deaths as “terribly sad” in a statement.

“My heart goes out to their families, for whom this marks a dramatic end to years of uncertainty,” Koenders said. “The Netherlands remains opposed to the death penalty.”

Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Prime Minister Mark Rutte had been in contact with the Indonesian president on the matter, he said, and the government had done “all in its power” to attempt to halt the execution.