Indonesia Executes 4 Drug Traffickers; Gurdip Singh Spared For Now

Indian national Gurdip Singh has been spared for now while Indonesia executed three Nigerians and one local.

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Gurdip Singh’s wife Kulwinder Kaur(R) and other family members, in Nakoda in Rajasthan. (Photo: PTI)

Indian national Gurdip Singh, who was to be executed on Thursday night on drug trafficking charges in Indonesia, has not been put to death, External Affairs Minister of India Sushma Swaraj said today.

However, it was not clear why the Indian was not executed while four other convicts were put to death by the firing squad.

Singh was arrested on 29 August 2004 at the Soekarno Hatta Airport on charges of drug trafficking.The Tangerang Court awarded him capital punishment in February 2005, against the prosecutors’ request for 20 years imprisonment.

Indonesia executed four convicted drug traffickers, three of them Nigerians, in the early hours of Friday, leaving the fate of ten others uncertain.

The Africans and an Indonesian man were shot by firing squad during a thunderstorm shortly after midnight on Nusakambangan Island in Central Java, as the government ignored international calls for clemency and pushed ahead with what it considers a war on drugs.

The attorney general said on Wednesday that 14 prisoners, including citizens of India, Pakistan, and Zimbabwe, would be executed this weekend.

India has reached out to Indonesia to save an Indian national from execution. Gurdip Singh, 48, was found guilty by an Indonesian court of trying to smuggle in 300 grams of heroin and was given death penalty in 2005.

An official said on Friday the planned executions would go ahead “in stages” but declined to give a timeframe.

Security was stepped up at the Indonesian embassy in Nigerian capital Abuja on Thursday as protesters gathered to urge Indonesia to halt the executions.

“We considered several factors and decided that for now four death row inmates would be executed,” Noor Rachmad, an official at the attorney general’s office, said shortly after Friday’s executions.

Just over a year ago, Indonesia executed 14 prisoners, mostly foreign drugs offenders, causing diplomatic outrage. Rights activists and governments have again called on Indonesia to abolish the death penalty.

(With Reuters inputs)

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