Vietnam tried to save drug convict from Indonesia's firing squad: official

Thanh Nien News

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Ambulance cars transport the bodies of executed drug convicts in Indonesia on January 18, 2015. A Vietnamese woman was among the six who were the first executed under new President Joko Widodo by firing squad. Photo credit: AFP

Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry had asked Indonesia to grant clemency to a Vietnamese drug convict, but could not prevent her execution on Sunday, its spokesperson said. 
Le Hai Binh said in a statement that "protection" had been provided for Tran Thi Bich Hanh, who was eventually killed by a firing squad in Boyolali, Central Java. 
Since Hanh’s arrest in June 2011, the Vietnamese embassy in Jakarta and other Vietnamese agencies had discussed with the Indonesian government many times about respecting her legal rights, Vietnam News Agency quoted Binh as saying.
“We had asked the Indonesia government to consider reducing the penalty on humanitarian grounds,” he said.
But Binh conceded that Vietnam too is tough on drug trade and trafficking.
“Vietnam is a country which always cooperates with others in fighting and preventing drug crimes,” he said. 
Vietnam indeed has some of the world’s toughest drug laws. 
Those convicted of trafficking more than 600 grams of heroin or more than 2.5 kilograms of methamphetamine are punishable by death.
Producing or selling 100 grams of heroin or 300 grams of other illegal narcotics is also a death penalty crime.
Indonesia sentenced Hanh, 37, to death in November 22, 2011 for trafficking drugs in nine different cases, including the last time when she was carrying 1.1 kilograms of meth.
She was executed Sunday morning together with five other convicts, including an Indonesian woman and four foreigners, whose governments’ appeals were all rejected.
The executions were the first for nearly 70 death-row drug convicts in Indonesia and the first under President Joko Widodo, who sworn in last October.
Widodo government has pledged to give no pardons to the drug convicts, and that they will execute at least 20 of them every year, despite criticism from international governments and human rights groups. 
In related news, Reuters reported Monday that Nigeria has summoned Indonesia's ambassador over the execution of two of its citizens by firing squad for drug trafficking, echoing protests from Brazil and the Netherlands which also each had one of their nationals executed.
Indonesia initially said two Nigerians were among those executed, and the Nigerian statement also spoke of two, but Jakarta later suggested only one Nigerian had been shot, Reuters said.
According to the newswire, Brazil and the Netherlands recalled their ambassadors on Sunday to protest over the planned executions. Neither country has the death penalty and both have spoken out against the practice.
Nigeria, which summoned Indonesia's envoy on Sunday, does have the death penalty, although usually for more serious offences than drug trafficking, Reuters said.

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