Thursday, 4 August 2016

Indonesia Executes 3 Nigerians for drug trafficking

FLASH| Indonesia Executes 3 Nigerians
Indonesia has reportedly ex­ecuted three Nigerians – for drug trafficking.
The three Nigerians and one Indonesian citizen were killed by firing squad last night in the city of Nusakambangan, despite ap­peals for mercy by the internation­al community.

Three more Nigerians are among 10 other convicts on death row – awaiting the firing squad. The remaining 10 convicts are ex­pected to be put to death in the coming days, according to BBC reports last night.

Altogether, the 14 condemned persons i
nclude six Nigerians, four Indonesians, two Zimbabweans, one Indian and one Pakistani.
The Island nation of Indo­nesia rebuffed appeals from dis­traught relatives, rights advocates and foreign governments to aban­don plans to execute the six Nige­rians and eight other nationals for drug crimes.

Indeed, as preparations inten­sified at the prison island holding the death-row inmates, a convoy of ambulances, most of them car­rying coffins, arrived on Thursday morning at the port town nearest to the Nusakambangan prison island, where the mostly foreign drug con­victs are executed by firing squads.

Officials began tightening se­curity at the prison several days ago, with more than 1,000 police sent to Cilacap, the port town, and the island.

The European Union and the UN High Commissioner for Hu­man Rights urged Indonesia to im­pose an immediate moratorium on executions.

The Indian and Pakistani gov­ernments said they were making urgent efforts to save two nation­als among the condemned.

Indonesia has not released an official list of those executed, or those yet to face the firing squad. But Community Legal Aid Insti­tute, an organisation involved in some of the death-row cases, has given names of the 14 condemned persons.

According to the list, the six condemned Nigerians are: Eu­gene Ape, Humphrey Jefferson, Obinna Nwajagu, Michael Titus, Okonkwo Nonso Kingsley and Ozias Sibanda.

The other convicts are: Seck Osmane (South Africa), Fredi Bu­diman (Indonesia), Merri Utami (Indonesia), Gurdip Singh (In­dia), Zulfiqar Ali (Pakistan), Fred­erick Luttar (Zimbabwe), Agus Adi (Indonesia), and Pujo Lestari (In­donesia).

Lawyers and rights groups have raised serious doubts about the legitimacy of the convictions in several of the drug cases, including that of Nigerian Humphrey Jeffer­son, Pakistani Zulfikar Ali and In­donesian Merri Utami.

In a broadcast yesterday, Muhammad Rum, a spokesman for Indonesia’s Attorney-General, said the executions are the “imple­mentation of our positive laws and will not be delayed or stopped. All the cases have gone through a long legal process, including appeals. They all have been given chances at all stages”.

The foreign ministry also de­fended the use of capital punish­ment and the legal process.
In Cilacap, the sister-in-law of Michael Titus, one of the Nigeri­ans sentenced to death, said his In­donesian wife was returning to In­donesia from Nigeria in the hope that she would be able to see him a final time.

“We will keep fighting to seek justice for our family,” said the rel­ative, Nila, who used one name. “Michael is not alone. He has a wife, kids.”
The Indonesian government says the death penalty is neces­sary for drug crimes because the country is facing a drug epidemic, particularly affecting young peo­ple. But critics argue that capital punishment is not an effective de­terrent and some have also ques­tioned the accuracy of the govern­ment’s drug abuse statistics.

It would be the third set of ex­ecutions under President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, who cam­paigned on promises to improve human rights. His two-year-old administration will have executed more people than were executed in the previous decade. Fourteen were put to death last year.
The government of Jokowi’s predecessor did not carry out ex­ecutions between 2009 and 2012, but resumed them in 2013.

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