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10 Indon death row prisoners in limbo

AAP logoAAP 28/07/2016

The 10 people who remain in limbo on death row in Indonesia after receiving a last-minute reprieve from execution overnight were spared in order to avoid a judicial mistake, the attorney-general says.

Speaking several hours after four men were executed at the notorious Nusakambangan island prison in Central Java in the early hours of Friday morning, Attorney-General HM Prasetyo made no apologies.

"Executions are not something fun to do but it must be done in order to save this nation," he told reporters.

Fourteen people, including one woman, were slated to be executed but in a last-minute move, the four men were the only ones to face the firing squad.

Based on a discussion the field executor had with police and foreign consulates, Mr Prasetyo said they decided the four needed to be executed that morning.

"The other 10 we have postponed for the future."

This was done to avoid a "judicial and non judicial mistake", he said.

He did not say when further executions would take place.

Those executed on Friday were Indonesian man Freddy Budiman, as well as Nigerians Seck Osmane, Michael Titus Igweh and Humphrey Jefferson Ejike Eleweke.

The executions come despite emotional pleas from the prisoners, their families and lawyers for mercy.

Igweh's sister-in-law wept on Thursday as she described how her family were still fighting for a second judicial review into his case when they read on a news website that he would be executed.

"We ask for justice to the government of honourable (President Joko Widodo) Jokowi. He (my brother-in-law) is a human, not an animal. Open your conscience, your heart, open your eyes," she told reporters outside the prison.

Meanwhile Sukumaran's mother Raji Sukumaran penned a letter to the president earlier this week, writing: "Please don't let these families go through what we have gone through."

Serious questions have also been raised about the legitimacy of the legal process that brought them to death row.

Eleweke, who was shot on Friday, had always maintained his innocence.

He was allegedly held without access to a lawyer for five months after his arrest, did not have an interpreter at trial and was beaten during interrogations.

Amnesty International's director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific called on the government to immediately halt any plans to carry put further executions.

"The injustice already done cannot be reversed, but there is still hope that it won't be compounded," Rafendi Djamin said in a statement on Friday.

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