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Brazil, Indonesia at odds over execution of Brazilian national

The execution of Brazilian national Marco Archer in Indonesia has sparked a diplomatic crisis between the two countries. On Saturday (Jan. 17), the day he was executed by firing squad, President

Dilma Rousseff – who pleaded with Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo to commute Archer’s sentence – said she was “appalled” and “outraged” and recalled Brazil’s Ambassador in Jakarta. In diplomatic practice, recalling an ambassador is a means of protest against the government of the country where that ambassador is based.

Brazil’s Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira said during a press conference Saturday (Jan. 17) that the execution has cast a shadow on the relationship between the two countries. “Recalling our ambassador expresses our concern and implies tension,” Vieira explained. The Foreign Ministry also summoned Indonesia’s Ambassador to Brazil shortly after the execution, and gave him a letter of protest reiterating Brazil’s government’s consternation.

The minister said Brazilian authorities did everything they could to prevent the execution, arguing that there is no capital punishment in Brazil and noting that the severity of Archer’s offense was never questioned in the plea.

Mauro Vieira told journalists that Marco Archer was given every assistance, as was another Brazilian national, Rodrigo Gularte, who is also on death row in Indonesia under similar charges.

Archer’s body was cremated, and his remains will be brought back to Brazil by his aunt, Maria de Lurdes Archer Pinto.

Archer was the first Brazilian ever to have been executed for a crime abroad. Formerly a hang gliding instructor, he was arrested in August 2003 as he tried to smuggle 13.4 kilos of cocaine into Indonesia via Jakarta Airport. The drug was hidden inside a dismantled hang glider packed into seven pieces. He managed to escape the airport, but was found on Sumbawa Island two weeks later. Archer admitted guilt, telling police he had been paid $10,000 to smuggle cocaine from Lima, Peru, to Jakarta. He was sentenced to death the following year.

Translated by Mayra Borges

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