Europe

Indonesian president defends death penalty for drug crimes

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and the President of Indonesia Joko Widodo, left, address the media during a joint news conference as part of a meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Monday, April 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and the President of Indonesia Joko Widodo, left, address the media during a joint news conference as part of a meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Monday, April 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)  (The Associated Press)

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and the President of Indonesia Joko Widodo, left, address the media during a joint news conference as part of a meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Monday, April 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and the President of Indonesia Joko Widodo, left, address the media during a joint news conference as part of a meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Monday, April 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)  (The Associated Press)

Indonesia's president is defending his country's use of the death penalty for drug offenses, arguing that drug abuse constitutes an emergency.

Indonesia has extremely strict drug laws and more than 130 people on death row, mostly for drug crimes. Authorities recently said Indonesia is preparing to execute more foreigners convicted of drug offenses. Executions last year caused an international outcry.

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said Monday that "Indonesia currently has an emergency, above all in drug abuse." He said 30-50 people a day die in Indonesia because of drugs.

Jokowi said through an interpreter: "Implementation of the death penalty is carried out very cautiously."

He spoke after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who underlined Germany's opposition to capital punishment and its wish for Indonesia "not to implement it if possible."