In­done­sia de­fi­ant as UN blasts loom­ing ex­e­cu­tions

The China Post - - BUSINESS - BY NICK PERRY

In­done­sia on Sun­day sig­naled it was determined to push ahead with the ex­e­cu­tion of eight for­eign drug con­victs, de­spite a grow­ing wave of global con­dem­na­tion led by United Na­tions chief Ban Ki-moon.

Au­thor­i­ties on Satur­day gave for­mal no­tice to the eight — from Australia, Brazil, Nige­ria and the Philip­pines — that they would be ex­e­cuted by fir­ing squad im­mi­nently, along with an In­done­sian prisoner.

How­ever, a French­man also on death row for drug-re­lated crimes was granted a tem­po­rary re­prieve af­ter Paris stepped up pres­sure on Jakarta.

The group have been moved to the high-se­cu­rity pri­son is­land of Nusakam­ban­gan, where In­done­sia puts con­demned pris­on­ers to death, and Jakarta says the ex­e­cu­tions could be as early as Tues­day, although no of­fi­cial date has been set.

At­tor­ney Gen­eral Muham­mad Prase­tyo told In­done­sian news chan­nel MetroTV that prepa­ra­tions for the ex­e­cu­tions were “100 per­cent” com­plete.

The con­victs re­cently lost ap­peals for mercy to Pres­i­dent Joko Wi­dodo, who has taken a hard line against drug traf­fick­ers and re­fused to back down on the ex­e­cu­tions de­spite mount­ing in­ter­na­tional crit­i­cism.

U.N. chief Ban added his voice to ap­peals for the con­victs to be spared.

“The sec­re­tary-gen­eral urges Pres­i­dent Joko Wi­dodo to ur­gently con­sider declar­ing a mora­to­rium on cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment in In­done­sia, with a view to­ward abo­li­tion,” a spokesman for Ban said.

Australia, which has mounted a sus­tained diplo­matic cam­paign to save its two cit­i­zens in the group, also re­newed ap­peals fol­low­ing Satur­day’s news.

“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.”

Wi­dodo how­ever re­fused to com­ment on Sun­day.

France has stepped up pres­sure on Jakarta in re­cent days, with Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande warn­ing of “con­se­quences” if its cit­i­zen, Serge At­laoui, is put to death.

The warn­ing came shortly be­fore it was an­nounced that At­laoui had won a tem­po­rary re­prieve to al­low him to pur­sue a fur­ther legal ap­peal.

Brazil vowed to press In­done­sia not to ex­e­cute the Brazil­ian man among the group, Ro­drigo Gu­larte, for hu­man­i­tar- ian rea­sons, say­ing that he suf­fers from schizophre­nia.

No Back­ing Down

De­spite the ap­peals, In­done­sia has shown lit­tle sign that it is will­ing to back down and the for­eign min­istry in­di­cated Sun­day that Ban’s state­ment would not change their plans.

“We note the state­ment by the U.N. but we also note that there was no sim­i­lar state­ment made when re­cently two In­done­sians were ex­e­cuted,” min­istry spokesman Ar­rmanatha Nasir told AFP, re­fer­ring to ex­e­cu­tions this month of In­done­sian do­mes­tic work­ers in Saudi Ara­bia.

Ex­e­cu­tions were car­ried out re­cently “by other coun­tries and we did not see any state­ment made by the U.N.,” he said.

He added that it was “not the in­ten­tion of In­done­sia” to dam­age ties with other coun­tries.

The ex­e­cu­tions have been de­layed for weeks, with In­done­sia com­ing close to car­ry­ing them out in Fe­bru­ary, but then agree­ing to let fi­nal legal ap­peals be re­solved fol­low­ing an in­ter­na­tional out­cry.

How­ever Satur­day’s an­nounce­ment sig­nals they are fi­nally go­ing ahead.

While Jakarta has not of­fi­cially an­nounced a date, lawyers for two of the con­victs — the Filip­ina and one of the Nige­ri­ans — said they had been in­formed it would be on Tues­day.

Au­thor­i­ties have said that they are wait­ing on the out­come of the ap­peal by the sole In­done­sian in the group, which could come as early as Mon­day.

Rel­a­tives of the con­demned pris­on­ers have been rush­ing to Ci­la­cap, the town that serves as the gate­way to Nusakam- ban­gan, as au­thor­i­ties in­formed the death row con­victs they would face the fir­ing squad soon.

The fam­ily of the Aus­tralians, heroin traf­fick­ers An­drew Chan and Myu­ran Suku­maran, ar­rived Satur­day to visit the men, cross­ing over to Nusakam­ban­gan ac­com­pa­nied by em­bassy of­fi­cials.

“We ask that the pres­i­dent please, please show mercy,” Suku­maran’s brother Chinthu told re­porters.

Echo­ing his plea, Chan’s brother Michael said, “He’s the only one that can stop it.”

“It’s not too late to do so,” he added. “I please ask the pres­i­dent, please show mercy.”

Rel­a­tives of Filip­ina Mary Jane Veloso, in­clud­ing her sons aged six and 12, went to see her Satur­day and again on Sun­day, while fam­i­lies of the Brazil­ian con­vict and one of the Nige­ri­ans also vis­ited.

Veloso’s lawyer, Edre Olalia, said that her legal team had filed a re­quest for a sec­ond ju­di­cial re­view of her case and that In­done­sian au­thor­i­ties had promised to let all ap­peals run their course be­fore the ex­e­cu­tions.

“We are not giv­ing up, we will never give up,” Olalia told re­porters in Ci­la­cap, adding that Veloso was “an in­no­cent mother.”

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 ex­e­cuted six drug con­victs, in­clud­ing five for­eign­ers, spark­ing in­ter­na­tional out­rage.

AP

Filipino pro­test­ers hold slo­gans call­ing on the In­done­sian gov­ern­ment to spare the life of con­victed Filipino drug traf­ficker Mary Jane Veloso dur­ing a rally out­side the In­done­sian Em­bassy in the fi­nan­cial dis­trict of Makati, south of Manila, Philip­pines on Sun­day, April 26.

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