Indonesia Rejects International Pleas To Halt Executions Of Nigerians

Indonesia Thursday rejected
appeals from the UN and EU to
halt the execution of 14 drug
convicts including foreigners, as
speculation mounted they could
face the firing squad in a matter of hours.
The group, including foreigners
from Nigeria, Pakistan, India and
Zimbabwe as well as
Indonesians, have been placed
in isolation on a prison island where Jakarta carries out
Authorities stepped up
preparations with ambulances
carrying coffins seen crossing
over to Nusakambangan island. Family members say they have
been told the convicts will be
executed Thursday night,
according to a lawyer and
diplomat — who were angry as
it was earlier than they thought was allowed.
The attorney general’s office,
which oversees executions,
could not be reached for
Indonesia last carried out executions in April 2015 when it
put to death eight drug convicts,
including two Australians,
sparking international outrage.
But President Joko Widodo has
defended the use of the death penalty to combat rising
narcotics use.
UN High Commissioner for
Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al
Hussein on Wednesday called on
Indonesia to end the “unjust” use of the death penalty, while
the European Union urged
Jakarta to stop the “cruel and
inhumane punishment, which
fails to act as a deterrent”.
Indonesian foreign ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir
defended the looming
executions as “pure law
“I need to emphasise that all the
legal processes of the convicts have been completed, all their
rights have been fulfilled — we
target the drug traffickers and
not users,” he said.
Jakarta faced accusations of
breaking its own laws by apparently planning to hold the
executions on Thursday.
Diplomats and lawyers say they
were given the legally required
three days notice of the plan on
Tuesday afternoon and believed the earliest it could happen was
– “This cannot happen” –
“I am very concerned — this
cannot happen,” Ricky
Gunawan, a lawyer for a Nigerian convict set to face the
firing squad, told AFP.
“It is clearly against the law. This
execution has been completely
under secrecy from the start.”
Four citizens from Indonesia and ten others from Nigeria, India,
South Africa, Pakistan and
Zimbabwe would be executed,
said lawyers from the Jakarta-
based Community Legal Aid
Institute, who had visited some of the inmates in prison this
Syed Zahid Raza, deputy
Pakistani ambassador in Jakarta,
said the family of a Pakistani
man, Zulfiqar Ali, had been informed he would be executed
Thursday night.
Spokesman Nasir said his
ministry had fulfilled all their
obligations by notifying foreign
representatives. But Amnesty International
outlined Wednesday “systematic
flaws” in the trials of several of
the death row inmates, and
warned the executions could
not proceed while appeals for clemency were pending.
Family members of Michael Titus
Igweh, a Nigerian prisoner, said
his case was still under review.
“I don’t think this is fair. They
should fulfil his legal rights first,” Igweh’s sister-in-law Nila, who
gave just one name, told
reporters in Cilacap.
Pakistan is angry about the
planned execution of Ali —
whom rights groups claim was beaten into confessing — and
summoned Indonesia’s
ambassador in Islamabad this
Ali’s claims of innocence were
backed by a senior Indonesian official, who found numerous
“inconsistencies” during an
internal investigation into his
arrest and trial for heroin
possession in the late 2000s.
Hafid Abbas, former director- general of Indonesia’s Ministry
of Justice, told AFP that he had
recommended the now 52-year-
old receive clemency as he was
an “innocent person”.
A candlelit vigil will be held outside the presidential palace in
Jakarta on Thursday evening,
just hours before the 14
prisoners are expected to face a
midnight firing squad.