Indonesia yesterday executed four drug convicts, while 10 others due to face the firing squad were given an apparent reprieve in a confused process one lawyer said was a “complete mess.”
The executions on a remote prison island went ahead despite protests from international rights groups, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the EU, who had urged Indonesia not to proceed.
Four inmates — three Nigerians and one Indonesian — were put to death just after midnight. One of the Nigerian prisoners was cremated hours later, while the bodies of the three others were being prepared for burial.
Questions swirled about the handling of the process, which saw the other 10 prisoners scheduled to die spared at the last minute.
Authorities did not give a reason for the reprieve, but the prison island where they were expected to be executed in outdoor clearings was hit by a major storm as the other sentences were carried out.
Indonesian Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo said the 10 inmates had been returned to their cells, which suggested that their executions were not imminent.
“The fate of the other 10 we will determine later. We will see when the right time will be, but one thing is for sure — we will never stop executing people on death row,” Prasetyo told reporters.
Ricky Gunawan — whose client Humphrey Jefferson Ejike Eleweke was among those tied to a post and shot in the jungle clearing — said lawyers awaiting the grim news were kept in the dark as to why the executions did not proceed as planned.
“I would say the execution this morning was a complete mess,” Gunawan told reporters from Cilacap, near Nusakambangan, a remote island housing several high-security jails. “No clear information was provided to us about the time of execution, why only four [were executed] and what happens to the 10 others.”
Family members had already been shocked to learn on Thursday morning that their relatives would be put to death a day ahead of schedule.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo has defended ramping up the use of capital punishment, saying that Indonesia is fighting a war on drugs and that traffickers must be heavily punished.
Yesterday’s executions were the third under Widodo since he took office in 2014. The last round was in April last year, when authorities put to death eight drug convicts, including two Australians.
The executed Indonesian was named as Freddy Budiman, while the three Nigerians were Seck Osmane, Humphrey Jefferson Ejike Eleweke and Michael Titus Igweh.
Another of Eleweke’s lawyers, Afif Abdul Qoyim, told reporters that the execution should not have gone ahead as his client this week filed a legal appeal.
“When this process is not respected, that means that this is no longer a country that upholds the law, nor human rights,” Qoyim said.
Amnesty International has identified what it calls “systematic flaws” in the trials of several of the death-row inmates and urged Indonesia not to proceed while appeals for clemency were pending.
Two people whose cases had raised high-profile international concern among rights groups were not executed.
The first was Pakistani Zulfiqar Ali, whom rights groups say was beaten into confessing to heroin possession, leading to his 2005 death sentence.
The other was Indonesian woman Merri Utami, who was caught with heroin in her bag as she came through Jakarta airport and claims she was duped into becoming a drug mule.
The National Commission on Violence Against Women, which has been lobbying for Utami to receive clemency, called for answers over the fate of the 10 remaining prisoners.
“We hope the attorney general’s office will provide a clear and transparent explanation,” the commission’s Sri Nurherwati told reporters.
Pins hidden in her shoes, head forced down a toilet, kicked in the stomach: South Korean hairdresser Pyo Ye-rim suffered a litany of abuse from school bullies, but now she is speaking out. The 26-year-old is part of a phenomenon sweeping South Korea known as “Hakpok #MeToo,” where people who were bullied publicly name and shame the perpetrators of school violence — “hakpok” in Korean — decades after the alleged crimes. Made famous globally by Netflix’s gory revenge series The Glory, the movement has ensnared everyone from K-pop stars to baseball players and accusations — often anonymous — can be career-ending, with
One of Australia’s two active volcanoes on an island near Antarctica — known as Big Ben — has been spotted by satellite spewing lava. The lava flow on the uninhabited Heard Island, about 4,100km southwest of Perth and 1,500km north of Antarctica, is part of an ongoing eruption that was first noted more than a decade ago. The image was caught by the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellite on Thursday, and is a composite of an optical picture and an infrared image. The lava is seen flowing down the side of Big Ben from near the summit, known as Mawson Peak.
SYMBOLIC: The bill sponsored by a cross-party group of lawmakers was hailed as a ‘historic moment’ in the fight for marriage equality, but is unlikely to pass Lawmakers in South Korea have proposed the country’s first same-sex marriage bill, in a move hailed by civic groups as a defining moment in the fight for equality. The marriage equality bill, proposed by South Korean lawmaker Jang Hye-yeong of the minor opposition Justice Party and co-sponsored by 12 lawmakers across all the main parties, seeks to amend the country’s civil code to allow same-sex marriage. The bill is unlikely to pass, but forms part of a trio of bills expected to increase pressure on the government to expand the idea of family beyond traditional criteria. The two other bills relate to
TIME TO TALK: Among China’s grievances were economic and trade issues related to Taiwan, but both countries emphasized the need to maintain communication US Trade Representative Katherine Tai (戴琪) on Friday raised complaints about China’s state-led economic policies during a meeting with Chinese Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao (王文濤), who objected to US tariffs and trade policies, as well as issues related to Taiwan, their offices said. However, statements from the US Trade Representative’s (USTR) office and the Chinese Ministry of Commerce emphasized the need for Washington and Beijing to maintain communication on trade. “Ambassador Tai highlighted the need to address the critical imbalances caused by China’s state-led, non-market approach to the economy and trade policy,” the USTR said in a statement released after the