Minister suggests executions may be reconsidered
Margareth S. Aritonang and Ina Parlina
The Jakarta Post
Mounting public calls for the government to spare the lives of convicts who will face the firing squad this month may not fall on deaf ears, with Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna H. Laoly suggesting President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo's administration may reexamine the decision to proceed with the executions.
Yasonna made the suggestion on the sidelines of a plenary meeting at the House of Representatives on Monday.
On the same day, the mothers of the two Australian convicts ' Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran ' who will be among 11 convicts to be executed, were in town to officially seek help from the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) to talk to Jokowi and related officials.
Yasonna, from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), promised nothing when asked about the government's response to the efforts of Chan's mother, Helen Chan, and Sukumaran's mother, Raji Sukumaran, to save their sons. Instead he paused for a few seconds before saying, 'we will see'.
'Attorney General [HM Prasetyo] told us to move on. Let's wait for the next development,' Yasonna said when asked to confirm if the government would proceed with the executions.
Chan and Sukumaran were part of the so-called Bali Nine group that was sentenced to death for attempting to smuggle over 8.3 kilograms of heroin from Bali to Australia in 2005.
In addition to the two Australians, the Attorney General's Office has included another nine prisoners for execution: Brazilian Rodrigo Gularte, Filipino Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso, French Serge Areski Atlaoui, Ghanaian Martin Anderson, Nigerian Raheem Agbaje Salami and four Indonesian convicts ' Syofial alias Iyen bin Azwar, Zainal Abidin, Sargawi alias Ali bin Sanusi and Harun bin Ajis.
Six inmates from Malawi, Brazil, Nigeria, Vietnam, the Netherlands and Indonesia were executed last month for their involvement in drug trafficking.
President Jokowi has repeatedly said he will show no mercy to drug traffickers due to the damage the crime causes, particularly on the country's youth.
His firmness has impacted on the convicts' relatives, like Helen Chan and Raji Sukumaran.
Both women met Komnas HAM's Roichatul Aswidah and Sandrayati Moniaga to ask the national rights body to use all its power to lobby the government to reexamine their sons' cases.
Chan and Sukumuran said their sons had been reborn and were completely different people to when they committed their crimes 10 years ago.
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