UN chief appeals to Indonesian President to stop upcoming executions

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

The President of Indonesia is being urged by the UN Secretary-General to halt the imminent execution of 14 prisoners for alleged drug-related crimes.

Ban Ki-moon made the appeal in a statement issued on Thursday by his Spokesman.

Dianne Penn reports.

The 14 inmates are reportedly due to be executed by firing squad before the end of the week.

Ten are foreigners: from Nigeria, Senegal, Zimbabwe, India and Pakistan.

Mr Ban stated that the United Nations opposes the use of capital punishment in all circumstances.

Citing international law, he said if the death penalty is to be used, it should only be imposed for the "most serious crimes," namely those involving intentional killing.

Drug crimes, he said, "are generally not considered to meet this threshold."

The UN chief also urged Indonesian President Joko Widodo to consider declaring a moratorium on the use of the death penalty and to move towards its abolition.

Indonesia reinstated capital punishment in 2013 following a four-year moratorium.

Nineteen people have been executed since then.

Three UN independent human rights experts have also spoken out against the upcoming executions.

They said most of the inmates did not receive a fair trial nor exhaust avenues for appeal.

Furthermore, they stated that foreign prisoners "generally have no adequate interpreting services, the right to a translator or a lawyer at all stages of trial and appeal."

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’19″

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