CILACAP, Indonesia – 14 death row convicts are set to be executed in Indonesia, the third under President Joko Widodo. Of the 14, 10 are foreigners while 4 are Indonesians. This, despite international outcry condemning the death penalty for drug-related offenses.
The executions will be the first since April 15, 2015. Early this week, embassies were notified and prisoners transferred to Nusakambangan, the island where executions take place.
This usually marks the start of a 72-hour notice period. The foreign convicts come from Nigeria, Pakistan, India and Zimbabwe.
Spiritual leaders, families, and the firing squad are seen coming in and out today, fueling fear that executions will happen tonight, instead of midnight Saturday.
Indonesia rejected the appeal of human rights groups, the United Nations, the European Union and countries with nationals on death row, to halt executions due to unfair trials, and claims of some convicts they were tortured to confess.
Among them, Pakistani Zulfiqar Ali who says he was forced to confess and not given a translator during his trial, Indonesian Merri Utami whom activists say is an innocent drug courier, and Michael Titus Igweh, a Nigerian who says he was electrocuted under police custody.
The executions are estimated to cost about 2.8 billion rupiah or almost $214,000. Indonesia has some of the harshest drug laws in the world.
Activists hoped President Jokowi’s administration would improve human rights issues however the president says this is good for the country and its drug problem. But analysts say that this supposed drug problem is misguided and that drug use in Indonesia remains relatively low compared to other countries.
Natashya Gutierrez, Rappler Indonesia. – Rappler.com