You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Indonesian execution of four men 'illegal'

AAP logoAAP 3/08/2016 Lauren Farrow, AAP Southeast Asia correspondent

Last week's executions in Indonesia was in violation of the country's clemency law and sets an "alarming" precedent for those still on death row, lawyers and justice reform groups warn.

At least two of the four men who were shot by a firing squad in the early hours of Friday morning filed last minute clemency requests to President Joko Widodo in the days before their deaths.

The country's clemency law stipulates an execution can only be carried out once a prisoner is informed by the president that such a plea has been rejected.

Erasmus Napitupulu from the Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR) in Indonesia said the men received no official notice from the president rejecting their request.

"He (Attorney-General HM Prasetyo) must be aware that under our clemency law the president's decision must be sent to the convicted person," Mr Napitupulu told AAP.

"I think he (Mr Prasetyo) is just ignoring this fact."

Lawyer Ricky Gunawan, who represented Nigerian man Humphrey Jefferson Ejike Eleweke who was shot on Friday, also describes the executions as "illegal".

In the days leading up to the executions he told prosecutors that under clemency law his clients needed notification from the president.

However, he was pointed to a now defunct section of the law which stipulated clemency requests needed to be filed within a year of the outcome of a person's final appeal.

This section was repealed in June this year by the Constitutional Court, which found the time limitation on clemency requests had the potential to violate a prisoner's constitutional rights.

Mr Gunawan said prosecutors claim the court had informed them during an "internal meeting" that the change was not retroactive.

But he said nothing in the court's public judgment states this.

If it is the case there needs to be transparency, Mr Gunawan argued.

"It is illogical if it were not retroactive," he told AAP, adding it would mean that the death row inmate and convicted murderer Su'ud Rusli, who launched the case, would not receive any benefit from the changes.

When AAP asked the Attorney-General Office about the legality of last week's executions under clemency law, a spokesman simply stated: "We did it in accordance with law."

There are 10 people who remain in limbo on death row after they were given a last-minute reprieve on Friday.

Among those are Indonesian woman Merry Utami who has also filed a clemency request to the president.

Mr Prasetyo has not given any indication of when their executions are likely to take place.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon