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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 August, 2004, 08:11 GMT 09:11 UK
Indonesia executes heroin dealer
Indonesia has executed a 67-year-old Indian man for drug smuggling.

Ayodhya Prasad Chaubey was shot before dawn by firing squad on the island of Sumatra, according to media reports.

It is the first capital punishment in Indonesia for three years, and will disappoint campaigners who hoped the break would be indefinite.

President Megawati Sukarnoputri ordered the execution just weeks before a close-run presidential election, where crime is a key concern among voters.

"Ayodhya was shot in the heart from a distance of 10 metres (32 feet)," state news agency Antara quoted Sudibyo Saleh, the chief prosecutor in northern Sumatra, as saying.

The Indian national was arrested in 1994 - along with two Thais - when police reportedly found 12kg (26 pounds) of heroin on him.

They all were sentenced to death, and the two Thais are still on death row.

Ultimate penalty

In the past, Indonesia has used the death penalty sparingly.

The last execution was in 2001, when two multiple murderers were shot.

But 10 more people have already had their final appeals turned down by President Megawati Sukanoputri.

There are now 69 people on death row in Indonesia - three of them convicted of involvement in the October 2002 Bali nightclub bombing.

But the Bali bombers are unlikely to be executed soon. A constitutional court ruling last month threw their convictions into doubt, and some are expected to lodge fresh appeals against their sentences.

On 20 September, Indonesians are due to vote in the second round of a hotly-contested presidential election.

Voters' concerns over rising crime are seen as one of President Megawati's main weaknesses, according to the BBC's Tim Johnston in Jakarta.

The front-runner, Mrs Megawati's former security minister Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, has built much of his electoral platform on promises to fight crime and the country's endemic corruption.

Indonesia sentences ecstasy maker
13 Jan 03  |  Asia-Pacific

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