Eight people convicted of drug trafficking in Indonesia – part of so-called "Bali Nine" – were executed on Tuesday despite pleas for leniency from the international community.
The inmates were given 72-hour notices over the weekend that they would be executed by a firing squad, prompting a flurry of last-minute lobbying by foreign leaders and condemnation from drug police and human rights groups. The United Nations has argued that their crimes — possession of heroin, marijuana or cocaine — are not egregious enough to warrant the ultimate punishment.
Indonesia's attorney general says that a Filipino drug convict Mary Jane Veloso was spared from execution at the last minute
"Indonesians should be ashamed of their government's atrocity earlier today," Ethan Nadelman, the executive director of the New York-based Drug Police Alliance said in a press release. " The execution of these eight people for non-violent drug offenses will do nothing to reduce the availability of drugs in Indonesia or other countries, or protect people from drug abuse. All it demonstrates is the savagery of which governments are capable."
The attorneys for Rodrigo Gularte, a mentally ill Brazilian man, filed a last-ditch appeal Tuesday saying that he should be hospitalized and not executed, but the request fell on deaf ears as the Brazilian was one of the eight killed.
Gularte was arrested in 2004 trying to smuggle six kilograms of cocaine into Indonesia in surfboards. First diagnosed with cerebral dysrhythmia when he was 10 years old, Gularte was diagnosed with schizophrenia six years later and now is known to talk to animals and is afraid of electromagnetic waves from satellites watching him above his prison on Nusakambangan island.
"Under article 44 of the criminal code, a person with a mental illness cannot be held responsible," Ricky Gunawan, Gularte's lawyer said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
The Brazilian Embassy requested in 2014 that the prisoner be transferred to a mental institution but Indonesian authorities have not responded to the request. The Brazilian Embassy said in a statement that it is "unacceptable" that Gularte be executed.
"Nothing will be gained in the fight against drugs through this clearly inhumane act in the light of Indonesia's own laws and international laws," the statement says.
Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo announced the executions would take place after midnight. The relatives were allowed to visit with the inmates until 8 p.m., said Tony Spontana, Prasetyo's spokesman.
"All the officials, prosecutors, firing squads and ambulances are in place," he told reporters.
Among the condemned are two Australians — Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31 — whose emotional families visited Besi prison on Nusakambangan island, where the prisoners were scheduled to die.
Sukumaran's sister, Brintha, wailed in agony and had to be carried through a crowd of media waiting at the ferry port to the island.
Chan received a visit from Febyanti Herewila, an Indonesian Christian pastor who became his wife in a marriage ceremony on the island on Monday.
A dozen ambulances, nine carrying coffins, were driven onto the ferry to Nusakambangan.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.