Dutch Ambassador Back in Indonesia After Recall Over Death Penalty

FEBRUARY 06, 2015

Jakarta. Ambassador Rob Swartbol, who was recalled to the Netherlands after the recent execution of Dutch national Ang Kiem Soei, has returned to Indonesia.

In a letter to the Dutch parliament dated Feb. 5, Foreign Minister Bert Koenders explains that Swartbol was sent back on Wednesday, and that his Indonesian counterpart, Minister Retno L.P. Marsudi, has been informed.

The ambassador was recalled after Ang, a drug convict, was executed by a firing squad early on Jan. 18, along with four other foreigners — including a Brazilian — and an Indonesian national.

Brazil also recalled its ambassador.

In the letter to parliament, Koenders says the Netherlands opposes the death penalty in principle and that one of its government's goals is to try and get Indonesia to abolish the punishment. The minister adds that — especially now that new executions have been announced — it is important to be represented in Indonesia at the ambassadorial level.

"At the same time, I would like to investigate the possibilities to cooperate with Indonesia to fight drug-related problems," Koenders says in the letter.

Indonesia has announced that two Australian drug convicts, Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, will be executed soon.

Previously, days before the string of executions that included the Dutch citizen, the European Union’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy released a statement condemning the executions, as “deeply regrettable.”

“The EU is opposed to capital punishment in all cases, without exception, and has consistently called for its universal abolition,” Federica Mogherini said in the statement. “The death penalty is a cruel and inhumane punishment, which fails to act as a deterrent and represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity.”