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Indonesia to Keep Applying Death Penalty for Drug Crimes: Foreign Minister

Bullet-riddled Indonesian flag
Foreign minister tells Bloomberg `we have to enforce our law'

Indonesia will continue to apply the death penalty to convicted drug traffickers despite international opposition fanned by the executions of 12 foreign convicts last year, the country’s foreign minister said.

The continuing use of the law was justified by a “drug emergency" in Southeast Asia’s largest nation, Retno Marsudi said in an interview with Bloomberg News in Jakarta.

“That’s why we have to enforce our law,” Marsudi said in her office, which had a large map of the world in one corner and a globe in the other. “It’s really, really, really worrying. It is not against a country. It’s against crimes being done by those guys. ‘

The executions of seven foreigners in April -- among them two Australians -- prompted Australia to temporarily withdraw its ambassador. President Joko Widodo, who had been in office six months at the time, refused numerous appeals for clemency. Since April, there have been no executions.

“It’s still part of Indonesian law,“ Marsudi said, when asked whether the country was prepared to keep executing drug convicts. “As long as it is there, then of course it is there."

Moderate Islam

Marsudi said the government’s main foreign policy objectives were resolving maritime territorial disputes with its neighbors, helping Indonesians working abroad, furthering the country’s economic objectives and strengthening its voice at international forums.

The foreign minister also said Indonesia would intensify efforts to promote its traditionally less-conservative brand of Islam around the world. In January, militants claiming allegiance to Islamic State staged a suicide bomb attack in the capital, Jakarta, in what was the first major terrorist attack in the world’s most populous Muslim nation since 2008.

“The moderate Islam, the tolerant Islam -- that is the Islam in Indonesia," she said “We want to reflect that and share our experience."

Asked whether she was concerned about the anti-Muslim rhetoric of U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump, Marsudi said she hoped America’s tradition of tolerance would be maintained.

“I don’t want to comment on the political campaigns of other countries, but what I would like to underline is the values of the Americans,” she said. “I know that they have the values of respecting diversity and respecting differences."

Source: Blomberg Business, March 18, 2016

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