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

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Who are the 10 foreign nationals and 4 Indonesians expected to be executed in Indonesia this weekend?

Nusakambangan Island, Indonesia
Indonesia is likely to resume executions of prisoners this week, with 14 inmates – four Indonesians and 10 foreign nationals – expected to face the firing squad this weekend.

No formal list of death row prisoners has been released by Indonesian authorities, but a group of lawyers from the Community Legal Aid Institute has compiled a list of those it believes will be in the next round of executions. 


Indonesia has not carried out the death penalty since it killed 14 prisoners last year – six in January and eight, including Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumuran, in April – prompting an international outcry. 

Capital punishment for drugs offences is prohibited under international law.

Here is what we know about those set to face the firing squad this week.

Merri Utami
Indonesia

Utami, 42, from Sukoharjo, Central Java, is a former domestic worker who was allegedly duped into trafficking 1.1kg of heroin into Soekarno Hatta airport in 2003. According to the National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komas Perempuan), Utami had become involved with a Canadian national, named as Jerry, who showered her with attention and financial support and invited her on an overseas holiday to Nepal. After three days together in Nepal, Jerry left saying he had to attend to business in Jakarta, but allegedly asked Utami to stay so she could bring back goods, including a new leather bag for herself. It was this bag that was stuffed with heroin. Utami’s lawyers say she was subjected to threats of rape by the police upon her arrest, and also beaten and tortured in custody.

Zulfiqar Ali
Pakistan

Ali was sentenced to death in 2005 for possessing 300g of heroin, a punishment backed by the supreme court the following year. Police had arrested the businessman at his home in West Java in 2004; Ali has said he was detained in his home for three days by officers who beat him until he signed a confession. He later had surgery for stomach and kidney damage allegedly caused by the assaults. Ali was charged after another man, Gurdip Singh (see below), was detained at the airport in Jakarta with the 300g of heroin. Singh told police the drugs had been given to him by Ali, his neighbour, and his partner Dinong Pratidina. Singh later retracted his allegation against Ali. No drugs were found at Ali’s home.

Gurdip Singh
India

Singh was found guilty of trying to smuggle 300g of heroin into Indonesia in 2004. He was sentenced to death by the state district court in Tangerang in 2005. Prosecutors had initially recommended a sentence of 20 years. Singh retracted an initial statement he made against Pakistani national Zulfiqar Ali (see above), admitting he was coerced into making the false admission in return for a more lenient sentence for himself.

Freddy Budiman
Indonesia

Budiman was sentenced to death by the West Jakarta district court in 2012, after he was found guilty of smuggling 1.4m ecstasy pills from China in 2011. The drugs operation was uncovered by the National Narcotics Agency when officers raided a track carrying the pills in West Jakarta. It was later discovered the drugs belonged to Budiman, who at the time was already in prison but controlling the trade from behind bars. He was moved from Cipinang prison in East Jakarta to the high security Batu prison on Nusa Kambangan in 2013 after the discovery. His case review was rejected by the Indonesian supreme court earlier this month.

Frederick Luttar
Zimbabwe

Luttar was arrested in a house raid in West Jakarta in March 2003. Plastic bags stuffed with 1kg of heroin were reportedly found at the scene and he was sentenced to death just months later. A judicial review of Luttar’s case has been rejected, as was his appeal for clemency to President Joko Widodo last year.

Agus Hadi and Pujo Lestari
Indonesia

Agus Hadi was arrested along with Pujo Lestari for attempting to smuggle more than 12,000 benzodiazepine pills into the Riau Islands from Malaysia in 2006, according to Amnesty International. The two men, both ship crew members, were sentenced to death the following year and can make no further legal appeals against their execution. Amnesty International has reported that the men were denied access to legal counsel until 20 days and 78 days, respectively, after their arrests. They were detained for at least nine weeks before they were brought before a judge.

Humphrey Jefferson Ejike Eleweke
Jefferson, then a restaurant owner, was arrested in 2003 after police found 1.7kg of heroin in a room used by one of his employees. He was sentenced to death in 2004 and has until now declined to ask for presidential clemency as it would entail seeking forgiveness for a crime of which he says he is innocent. His lawyers say there is evidence that he was framed.

Michael Titus Igweh
Nigeria

Titus was found guilty of possessing 5.8kg of heroin in 2002. At the time he was 23 years old. He was sentenced to death the following year. He claims he was subject to beatings and torture in detention, this May telling the district court in Tangerang during his appeal that his genitals were repeatedly electrocuted to elicit a confession under duress.

Eugene Ape
Nigeria

Ape was arrested in 2003 and sentenced to death after 300g of heroin was found among clothes in a bag that he owned. Prosecutors at the South Jakarta district court initially called for a sentence of 12 years before he was handed the death penalty.

Seck Osmane
Senegal/South Africa

Osmane was sentenced to death in Jakarta in 2004 for carrying 2.4kg of heroin in 25 packages. The prosecutor said: “He came to Indonesia and acted in a manner that would destroy the future of the nation, by smuggling a large quantity of heroin for sale … and should be sentenced to death.” His appeal was rejected by the supreme court in 2005, and final judicial challenges failed in 2009 and 2011.

Okonkwo Nonso Kingsley
Nigeria

Arrested at Polonia airport, in Medan, in 2003, Kingsley was caught with 1.1kg of heroin and sentenced to death in May 2004. The heroin was stored in dozens of capsules that Kingsley had swallowed, found after customs apparently noticed the odd shape of his stomach. The supreme court rejected a judicial review filed by Kingsley in November 2014.

Ozias Sibanda
Nigeria

Sibanda was reportedly arrested with three other nationals from Nigeria at Soekarno Hatta airport in 2001. Like Okonkwo Nonso Kingsley (see above), Sibanda had arrived on a flight from Pakistan and had swallowed capsules of heroin. Sibanda was initially identified as a Zimbabwean national, as he was travelling on a forged passport.

Obina Nwajagu
Nigeria

Nwajagu was reportedly sentenced to death after he was caught at an Ibis hotel trying to buy 45 capsules of heroin from a Thai national. He has been held at Nusa Kambangan prison in Central Java since 2003. Nwajagu’s appeal for clemency has been rejected by the Indonesian president, Joko Widodo.

Source: The Guardian, Kate Lamb in Jakarta and Claire Phipps, July 27, 2016

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