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Jakarta Post

Zainal buried in Cilacap after rejection

  • Agus Maryono

    The Jakarta Post

Cilacap   /   Thu, April 30, 2015   /  01:01 pm
Zainal buried in Cilacap after rejection

From dust to dust: An Islamic cleric (front left) prays with Iwan Setiawan, brother of executed Indonesian drug convict Zainal Abidin, following Zainal'€™s burial at a cemetery in Cilacap, Central Java, on Wednesday. Eight drug convicts were executed by firing squad in the early hours of Wednesday on Nusakambangan prison island. JP/Agus Maryono

Eight ambulances disembarked from the Pengayoman ferry at the Wijaya pura Dock in Cilacap, Central Java, near dawn at around 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

They were carrying the remains of convicts who had been executed by firing squad a few hours earlier, between midnight and 12:30 a.m., at the Panaluan Valley range on Nusakambangan prison island.

The ambulances sped off into the morning mist and headed to different destinations under police escort.

After one of the ambulances arrived at Cilacap city center, it headed to the nearby Karang Suci public cemetery.

It held the body of 50-year-old Zainal Abidin of South Sumatra, the only Indonesian who was executed on Nusakambangan that morning.

As reported, according to Attorney General M. Prasetyo, South Sumatran Governor Alex Noerdin told him a day before the execution that for unexplained reasons Alex did not want Zainal'€™s body to be returned home for burial.

'€œThere was a request from the governor not to return his body to Palembang,'€ Prasetyo told the media at his office on Tuesday evening. He added that because of that rejection, Zainal'€™s body was to be buried near the execution site.

'€œWe eventually decided to bury his body in Cilacap,'€ said Prasetyo.

Dozens of Cilacap residents greeted Zainal'€™s body as it arrived at the Karang Suci cemetery.

The funeral took place quickly and was led by local cleric Hasan Makarim and Cilacap City Police personnel.

Some of the residents were unable to hold back tears during the ceremony.

'€œIt'€™s such a pity. I feel very sad. Although he might not be a bad person, he is already dead. Who knows if God has forgiven his sins?'€ said Sumarni, 45, a local resident who, together with scores of other people, provided help to bury Zainal'€™s body.

She said fellow Muslims were obliged to pray in the event of death.

'€œHopefully, his soul will be peaceful here. Even though he was a death row convict who was executed, those who are still alive are not necessarily more honorable than him,'€ added Sumarni.

Zainal'€™s only relative from Palembang who attended the funeral was his younger brother Iwan Setiawan, 40. He arrived a day earlier to visit his brother one last time and witness the execution on Nusakambangan.

'€œEverything is over. My brother has been buried. What else can we do? May God forgive all his sins,'€ Iwan told journalists after the burial.

Local media reported that residents in Zainal'€™s neighborhood in Palembang held a mass prayer for the deceased Wednesday night. They said they never refused the burial of Zainal in the cemetery in the neighborhood.

Zainal was arrested at his home in possession of 58.7 kilograms of marijuana in 2000. He was convicted and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment by the Palembang District Court over the case.

On Sept. 4, 2001, he filed an appeal with the Palembang High Court, but was instead sentenced to death. The Supreme Court confirmed his death sentence on Dec. 3, 2001.

Efforts to arrange a case review since 2005 were unsuccessful as the Supreme Court failed to respond to the appeal. Zainal'€™s execution order obtained legal certainty after President Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo rejected an appeal for clemency on Jan. 2 this year. Up until he was executed, Zainal remained adamant he was not guilty and not the owner of the contraband, as indicted.

Zaenal was not the only one of the eight executed drug convicts who was not buried in his home town.

Nigerian Okwudili Oyatanze was buried that same day at the Gita Eklesia Foundation'€™s orphanage in Ambarawa, Semarang regency, Central Java.

The body of Oyatanze, or Dili as he was affectionately called, arrived at the orphanage on Wednesday afternoon. It was greeted by a big poster reading '€œWelcome Home Uncle Dili'€ and the sounds of recorded reggae songs that the deceased had produced.

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