The Jakarta Post
Around 20 members of a Semarang-based civil society group staged a peaceful rally to convey their rejection toward the planned execution of death row inmate Merri Utami on Thursday.
Supporters of the Civil Society Movement against the execution of Merri Utami called on President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to give a presidential pardon to the drug convict, claiming that a criminal syndicate had duped her into acting as a courier.
“Merri is a victim of an international drugs syndicate. She wasn’t aware that she had been trapped. She was asked to bring luggage, which apparently contained heroin,” rally coordinator Nur Laila Hafidhoh said during the demonstration on Jl.Pahlawan in Semarang, Central Java.
Merri is a mother of two from Singopuran subdistrict, Kartasura district, Sukoharjo regency, Central Java. Following her divorce, Merri had to support her two children and raise enough money to seek medical treatment for her oldest child who suffered from a heart problem by working in Taiwan in 2000.
In Jakarta, Merri was acquainted with a Nigerian man, who promised to marry her. Merri was then invited to go with him to Nepal. Merri stayed alone in Nepal as the man preceded her to return to Indonesia. Merri was asked to follow him but before she departed for Indonesia, two friends of the Nigerian entrusted a bag to her.
Apparently, Merri’s luggage contained 1.1 kilograms of heroin. She was arrested at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport on Oct.31, 2001, and sentenced to death at the Tangerang District Court. Her second case review request was rejected on March 14.
On Sunday, Merri was moved from the Tangerang Women’s Penitentiary to Nusakambangan prison island in Cilacap, Central Java, for an execution, reportedly to be conducted on early Friday. (ebf)
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