Convicts left in dark over ex­e­cu­tions

The Myanmar Times - - World -

TEN drug convicts, spared dur­ing a chaotic ex­e­cu­tion in In­done­sia, were only of­fi­cially in­formed they would not be shot hours af­ter they had ex­pected to face the fir­ing squad, a lawyer said yes­ter­day.

De­spite in­ter­na­tional protests, one In­done­sian and three Nige­rian convicts were put to death shortly af­ter mid­night on July 29 on a prison is­land – Jakarta’s first round of ex­e­cu­tions for over a year.

But another 10 death row pris­on­ers, in­clud­ing In­done­sians as well as na­tion­als from Pak­istan, In­dia, Zim­babwe and Nige­ria, were not ex­e­cuted, al­though au­thor­i­ties have sug­gested they will face the fir­ing squad at a later date.

It is still not clear why the group were pulled from the lat­est round and the process has at­tracted strong con­dem­na­tion, with one lawyer call­ing it a “com­plete mess”.

Au­thor­i­ties have not given an ex­pla­na­tion but the­o­ries have ranged from con­cerns over le­gal prob­lems with sev­eral cases to a ma­jor storm that hit the is­land as of­fi­cials were about to carry out the sen­tences.

Adding to the sense of chaos, a lawyer for one of the 10 said they were not of­fi­cially in­formed their ex­e­cu­tions were be­ing halted un­til around 6am on July 29 – about five hours af­ter the first ex­e­cu­tions took place, and four hours af­ter au­thor­i­ties had an­nounced it to the me­dia.

Lawyer Arinta Sing­gih – who rep­re­sented In­done­sian woman Merri Utami – said as the hours passed, the group sus­pected they had been spared.

“At six o’clock, the doors of the iso­la­tion cells were opened,” Ms Arinta said, re­fer­ring to the cells where death row convicts wait be­fore be­ing ex­e­cuted.

“Guess­ing that they would not be ex­e­cuted, they walked out of the doors and hugged each other in joy.”

Only hours ear­lier, a war­den had

told Ms Merri, whom ac­tivists have claimed was tricked into be­com­ing a drug mule, to get ready to leave her cell.

How­ever, mo­ments later, the war­den told her to stay put – lead­ing her to sus­pect the ex­e­cu­tion might not go ahead. –

Photo: AFP

An ac­tivist from the In­done­sia Women Coali­tion holds a plac­ard read­ing “Clemency for Merry Utami”, an In­done­sian ci­ti­zen on death row, dur­ing a protest against ex­e­cu­tions in Ci­la­cap on July 28.

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