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Jakarta Post

Pay attention to death row inmates’ rights, mental health: Activists

  • Made Anthony Iswara
    Made Anthony Iswara

    The Jakarta Post

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Jakarta   /   Sun, October 11, 2020   /  08:19 am
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“Many of those who are given death sentences harm themselves, probably because they are under immense psychological pressure,” Law and Human Rights Ministry research and development agency head Sri Puguh Budi Utami said.(Shutterstock/Skyward Kick Productions)

It was almost 8 p.m. when two prison guards at the Tangerang Women’s Penitentiary in Banten awoke Merri Utami. They were carrying a water bottle and a water scoop.  “Wash your face,” Merri recalled the guards ordering. The officers told her she would be transferred to Cilacap in Central Java but they would not say why she was being moved. But on that evening – Saturday, July 24, 2016 – Merri knew it could be her execution. Merri said she was sentenced to death after her ex-boyfriend tricked her into carrying 1.1 kilograms of heroin from Nepal to Indonesia. She was caught at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in 2001 and said police officers tortured her so that she would sign a confession of guilt in a police interrogation report (BAP). On July 25, 2016, she was moved to Nusakambangan at 4:30 a.m. under a tight escort after 12 years in her...