Indonesia Defends Execution Of Drug Traffickers

Indonesia on Wednesday staunchly

defended its execution of seven foreigners including two Australians as a vital front of its "war" on drugs as testimony emerged of how they went singing to their deaths, The Times of India reports.

Australia withdrew its ambassador in

protest at the midnight executions, but

Indonesian President, Joko Widodo, said

he was merely applying "the rule of law"

against narcotics traffickers.

The seven convicts – two from Australia,

one from Brazil and four from Africa –

were shot by firing squad along with one

Indonesian, despite strident foreign appeals and pleas from family members.

Brazil expressed "deep regret" at the

execution of its national, who is mentally

ill according to his family, and said it was

weighing its next move.

The condemned men reportedly all refused blindfolds and sang hymns, among them "Amazing Grace", as they went to face the firing squad in a jungle clearing, according to a pastor who was with them.

As the clock ticked down to midnight, a

group of tearful supporters also sang hymns, embraced and held candles aloft

during a vigil at the port in Cilacap, the

gateway to the prison island of Nusakambangan.

After the executions, family members

could be seen crying as they were ushered away by friends and supporters, an AFP reporter saw.

A Filipina originally set to be executed was

given an 11th hour reprieve after a woman who allegedly duped her into ferrying drugs to Indonesia came forward to police in the Philippines.

The reprieve for Mary Jane Veloso was hailed in the Philippines as a miracle and

a gift from God, but Indonesian Attorney

General Muhammad Prasetyo stressed it

was only a "postponement" to allow time

for police investigations.

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