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Indonesia Pushes Back on Foreign Executions Pressure


FILE - This combination of two file photos from Jan. 24, 2006, left, and Jan. 26, 2006 shows Australian drug traffickers Myuran Sukumaran, left, and Andrew Chan during their trial in Bali, Indonesia.

FILE - This combination of two file photos from Jan. 24, 2006, left, and Jan. 26, 2006 shows Australian drug traffickers Myuran Sukumaran, left, and Andrew Chan during their trial in Bali, Indonesia.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo is pushing back at foreign pressure over plans to execute drug traffickers. The president spoke in Jakarta Tuesday about Brazil’s delay in welcoming a new ambassador from Indonesia. He said the Brazilian decision is a matter of honor for the nation.

“There must be no intervention on the execution of convicted drug dealers,” he said. “It is an issue of our rule of law, of our political sovereignty and positively in our law, death sentences included.”

He was speaking about the Brazilian president’s delay in accepting credentials, or documentation, from the would-be Indonesian ambassador. Some reports say Brazil delayed the acceptance in response to the death sentence of a Brazilian drug dealer.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Mursadi said the Brazilian government has given no reason for the action. But he said the Indonesian government sent a letter of protest to the Brazilian embassy in Jakarta.

Since 2013, Indonesia has carried out at least 10 executions of drug dealers. All of those executed had been found guilty of drug crimes and sentenced to death. In January, Indonesia put to death five foreign nationals, including a Brazilian citizen.

President Joko Widodo has denied requests from Brazil and three other countries to pardon their citizens.

On Tuesday, a court in Jakarta rejected an appeal by two Australians. The two, Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, are jailed for drug trafficking. Both were sentenced to death.

President Widodo has refused to lessen the severity of the sentences. The Jakarta court ruled that he was within his right to do so and that it could not overturn that decision.

The two Australians were to be killed in February. But the courts have delayed the executions for up to a month because of what they say are logistical reasons.

The two led a group of nine Australians, known as the Bali Nine. They were arrested 10 years ago after attempting to bring more than eight kilograms of the drug heroin to Australia from Indonesia.

I’m Jim Tedder.

VOA’s News Division prepared this report. George Grow wrote it for Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.

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Words in This Story

trafficker(s) - n. someone involved in an illegal activity, such as the drug trade

convictedadj. found guilty of a crime

sovereigntyn. self-rule; independence

embassyn. the offices of an ambassador and his or her assistants

logisticaladj. relating to the things that must be done to plan and organize something that involves many people

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