CILACAP, Indonesia – In a surprising twist, only 4 of the 14 drug convicts scheduled to be executed in Indonesia face the firing squad. The other 10 are spared, although it is unsure why exactly the government decided to keep the 10 alive.
Throughout the night, families enter Nusakambangan execution island in buses, presumably to say their final goodbyes. Lawyers and spiritual leaders are also seen coming in – signs the executions are looming.
At about 11pm, heavy rain start to pour. Thunderstorms fill the sky. Lawyers and activists waiting for news are blind, unsure whether the executions pushed through due to the weather.
A little after 2am, finally some official news.
Attorney General for General Crimes Noor Rachmat announces only 4 are put to death: Nigeria’s Michael Titus Igweh and Humphrey Jefferson, Senegal’s Osmane Seck, and Indonesian drug lord Freddy Budiman.
The executions come after international outcry from human rights groups, condemning the capital punishment for drug offenses.
Is President Joko Widodo finally softening his stance on the death penalty or is this victory for activists short-lived? Are the 10 spared for good or temporarily? Questions remain but for now the families of 10 drug convicts can breathe a sigh of relief, at least for one more day.
Natashya Gutierrez, Rappler Indonesia. – Rappler.com