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Indonesian court sentences Iranian drug gang to death

The Southeast Asian nation has some of the world's toughest anti-drug laws but has held off executions for several years
Indonesian police and drugs agency members display packs of methamphetamine before authorities destroyed 2.6 tons of crystal meth in Jakarta in this 2018 file photo

Indonesian police and drugs agency members display packs of methamphetamine before authorities destroyed 2.6 tons of crystal meth in Jakarta in this 2018 file photo. (Photo: AFP)

Published: October 28, 2023 05:10 AM GMT
Updated: October 28, 2023 05:13 AM GMT

An Indonesian court on Friday handed death sentences to eight Iranian drug traffickers found guilty of smuggling more than 300 kilograms of crystal meth into the Southeast Asian country.

Indonesia has some of the world's toughest anti-drug laws but has held off conducting executions for several years.

A judge in Banten province on Java island ordered that all eight men be executed by firing squad for the gang's role in smuggling 319 kilograms (703 pounds) of the illegal drug.

Uli Purnama addressed the defendants individually, ruling each one had been "convincingly proven guilty of committing intentionally a criminal act... as an intermediary in the transaction of class 1 narcotics".

He told each of them he was "therefore sentencing the defendant" to death.

The judge said all eight were found trying to smuggle the drugs through the Indian Ocean to Java, Indonesia's most populated island, before being caught in February at a port in Banten.

The defendants have seven days to appeal the decision.

In 2019, a French drug trafficker briefly on death row saw his sentence reduced to a long prison term on appeal.

A year earlier, eight Taiwanese smugglers were sentenced to death after being caught with around a tonne of crystal meth.

Several foreign traffickers have been executed by firing squad, including Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in 2015 -- a case that sparked diplomatic outrage and a call to abolish the death penalty.

The pair had been named the ringleaders of the "Bali Nine" heroin smuggling gang.

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