President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has rejected clemency appeals
It appears that nine drug convicts, eight of them foreigners, will face a firing squad in Indonesia on Wednesday. That’s according to an Australian news report that claims a local mortician has been instructed to write the dates of death as “29.04.2015” on the crosses that will be placed on the coffins of Christian prisoners.
Indonesian media also report that nine coffins, covered in white cloth, were taken in readiness on Sunday night to the police station in the Javanese town of Cilacap, near Nusakambangan island, where the convicts are being kept and where they will be shot. The death penalties come after President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo rejected pleas from foreign governments and thousands of his own citizens to halt the killings.
Indonesia gave a 72-hour execution notice to the four Nigerians, two Australians, one Filipina, one Brazilian and one Indonesian on Saturday. That time frame, and the dates being inscribed on the crosses, suggests that the executions will take place very early on Wednesday morning — perhaps just after the stroke of midnight.
A Frenchman, Serge Atlaoui, has been given a temporary reprieve pending a legal appeal, which was granted after French President François Hollande warned: “If he is executed, there will be consequences with France and Europe.”
However, no such reprieve has been granted to other inmates, who include Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, Australians who were part of the Bali Nine drug-smuggling group. Their former lawyer, Mohammad Irfan, has alleged to the Sydney Morning Herald that judges asked for more than $77,000 in bribes to give the pair a lighter sentence, and he also accuses Jakarta of political interference — once again putting a spotlight on Indonesia’s judicial system, which is largely seen as corrupt.
Legal appeals are still under way for Filipina domestic helper Mary Jane Veloso and Brazilian Rodrigo Gularte, who has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. His lawyers rushed to file a last-minute request for a second judicial review on Monday morning.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, (and former East Timorese President) José Ramos-Horta, boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, British tycoon and adventurer Richard Branson and iconic hard-rock guitarist Tony Iommi have joined the chorus of foreign leaders, fellow celebrities, local and overseas activists and ordinary people asking that the convicts’ lives be spared.
Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, the Indonesian maid whose severe abuse at the hands of her employer in Hong Kong threw a global spotlight on the plight of female migrant workers, has asked Jokowi to pardon her fellow domestic helper Veloso, who maintains that she was tricked into smuggling drugs.
Families of the condemned have arrived on Nusakambangan to spend the last hours with their loved ones, as police and military have stepped up security in Cilacap and Nusakambangan. Chan, who was ordained as minister in the decade he spent at a Bali prison, wants to go to church with his family during his last days, said his brother Michael. As his last wish, Sukumaran, who began painting while incarcerated in Bali, has asked “to paint as long and as much as possible,” his brother Chinthu said. One of his latest self-portraits shown to journalists depicts a harrowing image of the artist shot through the heart.
Veloso’s mother, brother and former husband held a banner that said, “Save the Life of Mary Jane!” at Cilacap’s port on Monday in a desperate attempt to halt her execution. Veloso, who supporters say is a victim of human trafficking and whose plight has sparked sympathy from Indonesian citizens, told her eldest son on Saturday, “Don’t think that I died because I did something wrong. Be proud of your mother because she died owning up to the sins of others.”