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The American death penalty is extraordinarily fragile, with death sentences and executions on the decline. Public support for the death penalty has diminished. The practice is increasingly marginalized around the world. California, with its disproportionately large share of American death-row inmates, announces an end to the death penalty. The year? 1972. That’s when the California Supreme Court declared the death penalty inconsistent with the state’s constitutional prohibition of cruel or unusual punishments—only to have the death penalty restored a year later through popular initiative and legislation.
On Wednesday, again, California walked back its commitment to the death penalty. Though not full-fledged abolition, Governor Gavin Newsom declared a moratorium on capital punishment lasting as long as his tenure in office, insisting that the California death penalty has been an “abject…

Indonesia Says Diplomatic Relations Will Not Suffer Because of Executions

Jakarta. Indonesia said its execution of the citizens of Brazil and the Netherlands over the weekend were unlikely to damage diplomatic relations with the two countries.

“No, it won’t,” Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Armanatha Nasir said on Sunday. “We try to maintain relations with countries we consider our friends.”

Brazil and the Netherlands have recalled their ambassadors after the Indonesian government ignored their pleas for clemency and proceeded on Sunday with the execution of six prisoners convicted of drug offenses.

It were the first executions under Joko Widodo’s presidency.

“It’s common for countries to recall their ambassadors for consultations. It’s their right to do so, and we respect this right,” Armanatha said.

Five foreigners and an Indonesian were killed by firing squad shortly after midnight, the Attorney General’s Office said. The foreigners were from Nigeria, Malawi, Vietnam, Brazil and the Netherlands.

Brazil recalled its ambassador in Jakarta for consultations and said the executions will affect its relations with Indonesia.

“The use of the death penalty, which the world society increasingly condemns, severely affects relations between our countries,” the Brazilian presidency said in a statement published by the country’s official news agency.

The Netherlands, a former colonial power in Indonesia, also recalled its ambassador and condemned the execution of its citizen, Ang Kiem Soei.

Hikmahanto Juwana, a professor of international law at the University of Indonesia, defended Indonesia for proceeding with the executions, arguing that the country should not worry about the recall of the foreign ambassadors.

“Indonesia will not be isolated just because we execute prisoners,” he said.

Hikmahanto predicted that such a recall would not last long as both countries needed Indonesia more than Indonesia needed them.

He said Indonesian diplomats should explain that the nation is in a drug emergency.

Source: The Jakarta Globe, January 19, 2015

Indonesia: Diplomatic appeals won't stop drug executions

Indonesia is sticking to its policy of executing drug offenders, including foreigners, and an official said Monday that the withdrawal of the Dutch and Brazil ambassadors will not disturb its diplomatic ties with those countries.

Jakarta brushed aside appeals by foreign leaders and executed six convicted drug traffickers over the weekend. One was an Indonesian woman and five were foreigners — men from Brazil, Malawi, Nigeria and the Netherlands and a Vietnamese woman.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir said the Dutch and Brazil government have recalled their ambassadors for consultation, which he called a normal right of every nation.

"Indonesia should not fear in upholding the law," Nasir said.

He repeated that Indonesia has been in a state of "drug emergency."

President Joko Widodo, who rejected clemency requests for all six convicts in December, refused a last-minute appeal by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and the Dutch government to spare their countrymen — Brazilian Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira, 53, and Ang Kiem Soe, 52, of the Netherlands.

Brazil's Foreign Minister Maurio Vieira said that the executions "create a stain, a shadow in the bilateral relationship."

Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders said the execution was "an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity."

The Nigerian government also protested that the execution took place "against the grain" of its excellent bilateral relations.

Coordinator Minister for Political, Law and Security Tedjo Edhy was confident that executions would not disturb diplomatic relations, adding that executions of Indonesians abroad had no impact on diplomatic ties.

Edhy guaranteed that Indonesia would not discriminate in imposing the death penalty. "The president has insisted that this is the decision of the state and therefore the origin countries of the convicts, including those being executed, have to respect and honor our law," Edhy said.

Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago nation of 250 million people, has extremely strict drug laws and often executes smugglers. More than 138 people are on death row, mostly for drug crimes. About a third of them are foreigners.

Source: AP, January 19, 2015

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