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Jakarta Post

Eight drug convicts executed

  • Agus Maryono and Fedina S. Sundaryani

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta/Cilacap   /   Wed, April 29, 2015   /  01:19 pm

Ignoring an international outcry and a global chorus of pleas for clemency, the government executed at midnight on Tuesday eight drug convicts on Nusakambangan prison island in Cilacap, Central Java.

However, the execution of Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso of the Philippines, was delayed at the last minute, apparently as a result of fervent appeals from Philippine President Benigno Aquino.

In the hours leading to the executions, government officials issued statements that served only to dash the hopes of the condemned prisoners'€™ family members, who continued to beg President Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo for stays of execution.

Early on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi insisted that Indonesia'€™s position on the executions would not be swayed.

'€œEverything'€™s been said. We have conveyed the Attorney General [M. Prasetyo]'€™s statement that Indonesia'€™s stance on the executions will not change. I feel the matter needs no further discussion,'€ the minister said.

As night fell on the prison island, the condemned prepared for the inevitable. Twelve ambulances containing coffins arrived, and distraught relatives bade a final farewell.

Photos of coffins and wooden crosses inscribed with the words '€œRIP'€ and '€œ29.04.15'€, made by local funeral director Suhendro Putro, had already been leaked online.

Attorney General'€™s Office (AGO) spokesman Tony T. Spontana said families of the convicts had been allowed a final visit until 8 p.m. on Tuesday, when the convicts were moved back to their isolation cells.

Tony also confirmed that nine firing squads were already on site and preparing to carry out their duty.

Other preparations were visible throughout the day.

'€œWe deployed more than 1,400 personnel to secure the area, excluding military personnel. We are on full alert,'€ Central Java Police chief Noer Ali said in Cilacap on Tuesday afternoon.

Wijayapura dock, the official entrance to the island, as well as the surrounding waters, were heavily guarded by armed police and military personnel.

Also present was Jakarta High Prosecutors'€™ Office chief M. Adi Toegarisman, who declined to speak to reporters.

The AGO has promised to grant the last wishes of the condemned drug convicts.

The bodies of Rodrigo Gularte of Brazil, Silvester Obieke Nwolise of Nigeria and Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan are to be sent to their home countries for burial. Nigerian Raheem Agbaje Salami and Ghanaian Martin Anderson will be buried in Madiun, East Java, and Bekasi, West Java, respectively, while the body of the sole Indonesian, Zainal Abidin, will remain on the prison island for burial.

A funeral procession for each of the convicts will be conducted in various locations in Indonesia before they are sent to their requested places of burial. Hours before the execution, the governments of Australia and France and the European Union issued a joint statement urging Jokowi to call off the executions.

'€œWe hope that Indonesia can show mercy toward the 10 [sic] convicts. Forgiveness and rehabilitation are a fundamental part of the Indonesian legal system, just as they are with ours. We ask Indonesia to think of its position and reputation in the global and international context. We fully support Indonesia'€™s efforts to obtain clemency for its citizens in other countries. Stopping the executions would help,'€ the statement said.

'€œWe wholeheartedly respect Indonesia'€™s sovereignty, but we are against capital punishment in our countries and in others,'€ it said.

Frenchman Serge Atlaoui was on the original roster of 10 convicts, but he was not executed on Tuesday after it was revealed that he had filed an appeal last Thursday against the State Administrative Court'€™s (PTUN) decision to reject his lawsuit against President Jokowi'€™s decision to reject his appeal for clemency.

'€” Nani Afrida and Ina Parlina contributed to this story.

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