"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." - Oscar Wilde

Monday, August 10, 2015

Indonesia: Death Row Convict Mary Jane Veloso's Fate Still Unclear

Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso
Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso
Like in the past years, thousands of inmates across Indonesia will receive sentence reductions in conjunction with the 70th Independence Day commemoration this year, which falls on the August 17th.

However, under Indonesian laws, jail term reductions are not given to prisoners serving life sentence, in addition to those who have been convicted with the death penalty. Among them is Filipino citizen Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso, who is currently a drug-related death-row inmate.

Mary Jane is currently held at Yogyakarta's Wirogunan prison. The former domestic helper was granted a last-minute temporary reprieve by President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo before she was due to be executed in April. 8 men, including an Indonesian national, were executed by firing squad that day in Nusakambangan, Central Java. They were all drug-related convicts.

President Jokowi gave Mary Jane a temporary reprieve following an effective campaign and pleas from the Philippine government. Philippine officials made stronger appeals to Indonesian authorities to spare the life of Mary Jane. One of the reasons was due to the on-going legal process over a Filipino woman, Maria Kristina Sergio, who had allegedly tricked Mary Jane to bring 2.6 kilograms of heroin to Indonesia from Malaysia about 5 years ago. Mary Jane says she had been tricked by a gang of heroin traders.

However, it remains unclear whether the Philippine court will eventually declare that Sergio had tricked Mary Jane. Moreover, Indonesian authorities had not clearly said about Mary Jane's fate if Sergio is found guilty.

Meanwhile, Benny Mamoto, former deputy head of Indonesia's National Narcotics Agency (BNN) had asked whether the Philippine law enforcement authorities have seriously focused on these 2 questions: Who owned the heroin? And whom it was brought to?

"If Sergio could not tell about it, it all was a lie. It was useless to hand herself to the police. What for, then?" the police major general told reporters at National Police Headquarters last Friday (7/8).

Late last month, a small team of officials from the Philippine Department of Justice met with Indonesia's Attorney General Agung M. Prasetyo at the latter's office to discuss the fate of Mary Jane Veloso.

Their visit followed Prasetyo's statement early last month that Veloso could ask for review of her case if there was new evidence that she had been tricked.

Meanwhile, reports said that there are still about 50 drug-related death-row inmates waiting for execution. In January of this year, 6 were killed by firing squad, which also took place also in the prison-island of Nusakambangan.

Source: globalindonesianvoices.com, August 9, 2015

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