ody of Brazilian prisoner Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira from Nusa Kambangan prison
An ambulance transports the body of Brazilian prisoner Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira from Nusa Kambangan prison, where five of six prisoners were executed, at Wijayapura quay, Cilacap, Central Java, January 18, 2015Reuters

Five men from Brazil, Malawi, Nigeria, Vietnam and the Netherlands, and an Indonesian woman, all convicted of drug trafficking charges, were executed by Indonesian authorities early Sunday. 

A firing squad is said to have shot them to death simultaneously in pairs, several kilometers from a high security prison in the country's most populous island Java, despite appeals to spare the convicts.  

Although Indonesia has a history of capital punishment for drug crimes, the convicted traffickers were the first to be executed under new President Joko Widodo, who in December rejected their clemency requests claiming such extreme measure were necessary to combat rising drug trade, reported LA Times. 

Despite King Willem-Alexander and Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands personally contacting Widodo, Indonesia went ahead with the executions. Widodo also rejected a last-minute appeal by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and the Dutch government to spare their countrymen — Brazilian Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira, 53 and Dutch national of Indonesian origin Ang Kiem Soe, aged 52 years. 

Rousseff said that she was "outraged" by the execution of Moreira, calling the execution "a cruel and inhumane punishment ... an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity." 

Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Bert Koenders also condemned the executions. "The Netherlands condemns the execution of Mr. Ang in Indonesia...It is tragic that he and five others have been executed. My sympathies go out to their families, for whom this brings a dramatic end to years of uncertainty," LA Times quoted him as saying.

Indonesia, a vast archipelago nation infamous for drug trafficking, has regularly taken drastic measure to try to combat the menace. Around 60 convicts are on death row for drug-related offences, of which 20 executions will be carried out this year, according to human rights groups.  

Others executed were Rani Andriani of Indonesia, Namaona Denis of Malawi, Daniel Enemuo of Nigeria and Tran Bich Hanh of Vietnam.