ON APRIL 29th Indonesia executed eight people convicted of drug trafficking. Despite concerns over legal failings and the mental health of one prisoner, four Nigerians, two Australians, a Brazilian and an Indonesian were put to death by firing squad. A ninth, a Filipina, was granted a surprise last-minute reprieve. Australia, which had appealed for clemency and had offered to pay for the prison costs of its citizens, promptly withdrew its ambassador in protest. This brings the number of people executed in Indonesia to 14 this year (12 of whom were foreigners), after the new president Joko Widodo lifted a moratorium on the death penalty for drug offences in December, citing a "national emergency". Until then, as the chart shows, Indonesia had not been among the world's most enthusiastic practitioners of the death penalty: between 2007 and 2014, only 16 people had been executed.
The Indonesian government is less keen on seeing its own citizens meet the same fate. Between 2011 and 2014, 240 out of 570 Indonesians facing the death penalty abroad had their sentences commuted. And of the remainder, 130 were charged with drug offences in countries where the war on drugs is being waged with greater enthusiasm. In China, by far the most prolific executioner and where numbers are shrouded in secrecy, around 8% of judicial killings in 2014 were for drug crimes. In Iran, almost half of the 278 people executed in 2014 were for drug offences. But this year alone, 241 traffickers have been put to death.