3 more await firing squad
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 include 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.
Indonesia Executes 3 Nigerians
3 more await firing squad