Jakarta in­forms con­victs of ex­e­cu­tion, French­man ex­cluded

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY MUHAM­MAD AZKA

In­done­sia said Satur­day it has of­fi­cially no­ti­fied eight for­eign drug con­victs that they will be ex­e­cuted, but a French­man was granted a tem­po­rary re­prieve af­ter Paris stepped up pres­sure on Jakarta.

The eight — from Australia, Brazil, Nige­ria and the Philip­pines — have been trans­ported to the high-se­cu­rity pri­son is­land of Nusakam­ban­gan where they will face the fir­ing squad along with an In­done­sian prisoner, de­spite stri­dent in­ter­na­tional crit­i­cism.

“To­day, just now, we just fin­ished no­ti­fy­ing ev­ery con­vict, nine peo­ple ex­cept for Serge,” a spokesman for the at­tor­ney- gen­eral’s of­fice, Tony Spon­tana, told AFP, adding it would be at least three days un­til the sen­tences are car­ried out.

“We have also asked for their last wish,” he added.

Of­fi­cials said ear­lier that French­man Serge At­laoui, who was ex­pected to be among the group be­ing put to death, will not be in­cluded in the forth­com­ing batch as he still has an out­stand­ing legal ap­peal.

Spon­tana did not give a date for the ex­e­cu­tions but a lawyer for Filip­ina Mary Jane Veloso said she had been in­formed she would be put to death on Tues­day.

The news that the ex­e­cu­tion pro­ce­dure is un­der way, af­ter weeks of de­lays, came af­ter In­done­sian of­fi­cials met diplo­mats Satur­day in a town near Nusakam­ban­gan. The con­sular of­fi­cials then trav­elled to the is­land to visit in­mates.

The for­eign drug con­victs have all lost ap­peals for cle­mency from Pres­i­dent Joko Wi­dodo, who ar­gues that In­done­sia is fight­ing a drugs emer­gency.

The Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment said it had been in­formed that the ex­e­cu­tion of its cit­i­zens, Myu­ran Suku­maran and An­drew Chan, was “im­mi­nent.”

Plead­ing for daugh­ter’s life

“Noth­ing can be gained and much will be lost if th­ese two young Aus­tralians are ex­e­cuted,” said For­eign Min­is­ter Julie Bishop.

“I again re­spect­fully call on the pres­i­dent of In­done­sia to re­con­sider his re­fusal to grant cle­mency. It is not too late for a change of heart.”

Min­nie Lopez, a lawyer for Veloso, told AFP: “We were in­formed by Mary Jane her­self that she re­ceived the no­tice that the sen­tence will be im­ple­mented on April 28.”

The news of At­laoui’s tem­po­rary re­prieve came af­ter France dramatically stepped up pres­sure on Jakarta to change course, and Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande warned Satur­day of “con­se­quences with France and Europe” if he was put to death.

Wi­dodo has pre­vi­ously ig­nored the in­creas­ingly clam­orous ap­peals on the con­victs’ be­half from their gov­ern­ments, so­cial me­dia and from oth­ers such as band Na­palm Death — the pres­i­dent is a huge heavy metal fan.

The Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment has mounted a cam­paign to save its cit­i­zens on death row, ring­leaders of the so-called “Bali Nine” hero­ins­mug­gling gang, stress­ing that they are re­formed char­ac­ters af­ter a decade be­hind bars.

Suku­maran has be­come an ac­com­plished artist dur­ing his time in jail. Af­ter vis­it­ing him on Nusakam­ban­gan, one of his lawyers, Ju­lian McMa­hon, re­turned car­ry­ing three of the con­vict’s self­por­traits with one dated April 25 and signed “72 hours just started,” the Aus­tralian As­so­ci­ated Press re­ported.

Seventy-two hours is the min­i­mum amount of time that death row con­victs must be given be­fore they are ex­e­cuted in In­done­sia.

Ear­lier, Suku­maran’s sis­ter Brintha is­sued an emo­tional plea for his life to be spared, urg­ing Wi­dodo in a YouTube video to “change pun­ish­ment for hu­man­ity.”

Veloso, whose fam­ily vis­ited her on the pri­son is­land Satur­day, sent out a hand­writ­ten note from jail plead­ing to Philip­pine Vice Pres­i­dent Je­jo­mar Binay, who has just re­turned from a visit to Jakarta.

“I ask for your help, save me from the death penalty. I have two very young sons who need their mother,” it said. “I swear be­fore God, I am in­no­cent. I am a mere vic­tim of evil peo­ple, even if many don’t be­lieve me.”

The 30- year- old, who was caught in 2009 with heroin sewn into the lining of her suit­case at Yogyakarta air­port, claims she was a vic­tim of hu­man traf­fick­ing and that she is not a drug smug­gler.

The fam­ily of Brazil­ian con­vict Ro­drigo Gu­larte have ar­gued he should not be put to death as he is a para­noid schiz­o­phrenic, and his lawyer Ricky Gu­nawan said Satur­day that the “ex­e­cu­tion of a per­son with men­tal prob­lems is be­yond logic.”

Three of the African traf­fick­ers are con­firmed as be­ing from Nige­ria. How­ever it is not clear whether the fourth holds Ghana­ian or Nige­rian na­tion­al­ity.

In­done­sia has some of the tough­est anti-drugs laws in the world. In Jan­uary, Jakarta ex­e­cut- ed six drug con­victs, in­clud­ing five for­eign­ers, spark­ing in­ter­na­tional out­rage.

AFP

Lawyer Ju­lian McMa­hon, left, dis­plays three paint­ings made by Aus­tralian death row prisoner Myu­ran Suku­maran in Ci­la­cap af­ter vis­it­ing Nusakam­ban­gan max­i­mum se­cu­rity pri­son is­land lo­cated off cen­tral Java on Satur­day, April 25.

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