Indonesia executed four convicted drug traffickers on Friday, a top prosecutor said, in the third such group execution since President Joko Widodo took office in October 2014. 

The convicts were shot by firing squad at the Nusa Kambangan penal island shortly after midnight amid pouring rain, the deputy attorney general for general crimes, Noor Rachmad, told reporters during a briefing broadcast live on television.

Rachmad identified the executed inmates as Freddy Budiman from Indonesia and Seck Osmane, Michael Titus and Humphrey Ejike - all from Nigeria. 

The attorney general's office had said late Wednesday that 14 convicts would be executed.

"The decision to stay the executions of the 10 convicts was made by the team on the ground, based on judicial and non-judicial considerations," Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo said, without elaborating. 

"Their executions will be carried out on a date to be decided later," he added. 

The executions came despite appeals for clemency from relatives of the convicts and calls for a halt to the death penalty from rights groups and the United Nations. 

"The execution of at least four people tonight by the Indonesian authorities is a deplorable act that violates international and Indonesian law," said Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International's director for South-East Asia and the Pacific.

"The injustice already done cannot be reversed, but there is still hope that it won't be compounded," said 

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged President Widodo "to consider declaring a moratorium on the use of the death penalty in Indonesia and to move towards its abolition," Ban's office said in a statement on Thursday.

Former president Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie also called for mercy in a letter sent to Widodo, the text of which has made rounds on social media. 

The Community Legal Aid Institute, which advocates for the convicts, had earlier said those facing execution were four Indonesians, six Nigerians, one Zimbabwean, one Senegalese, one Indian and one Pakistani. 

Local and international rights groups had urged Widodo not to go forward with the executions.  

They said that some of the convicts could have been victims of miscarriages of justice, after allegations that police used torture to extract confessions from suspects and that detainees were denied access to lawyers.

Attorney General Prasetyo brushed aside rights groups' criticism about a lack of integrity in some of the death penalty cases, saying that the legal process had been conducted "meticulously and properly." 

More than 100 people are currently on death row in Indonesia primarily for drug-related crimes, according to the Justice Ministry. Last year, the country executed 14 death row convicts. 

President Widodo has taken a tough stance against drug trafficking since his election in 2014, saying the country is facing a drug emergency.

Related stories

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.