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The synthetic painkiller fentanyl has been the driving force behind the nation’s opioid epidemic, killing tens of thousands of Americans last year in overdoses. Now two states want to use the drug’s powerful properties for a new purpose: to execute prisoners on death row.
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Third round of executions a matter of choosing a day: Indonesia's AG

It is now only a matter of choosing the day on which the third round of executions of drug convicts will be carried out, Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo said on Tuesday.

The Attorney General's Office (AGO) has begun preparations for the executions, set to take place on the notorious prison island of Nusakambangan in Cilacap, Central Java.

"There is only the choosing of the specific date. That's what I haven't been able to decide," Prasetyo said on Tuesday as quoted by newsportal Kompas.com.

He refused to disclose any details about what was delaying his decision. He also refrained from answering questions from reporters regarding the number of convicts who are to be executed.

The Attorney General has confirmed that Filipino Mary Jane Veloso and Indonesian drug kingpin Freddy Budiman are not on the list.

Veloso exclusion is due to an ongoing legal process in a separate but related case in her country.

Meanwhile, Freddy, who was found guilty of smuggling 1.4 million ecstasy pills from China to Indonesia in 2012, has filed for a case review, Prasetyo said.

The prosecutors will execute convicts whose verdicts are final, he added.

Prasteyo said he hoped the third round of executions would be carried out without any public uproar, such as that which has previously arisen after the executions of death row convicts.

"We do not want any racket. I have said many times, this is not something that is fun, but we have to do it nonetheless. Because no matter what, it concerns the well-being of the nation," he said.

Central Java Police chief Insp. Gen Condro Kirono said he had prepared the firing squad, doctors as well as clerics and priests for the executions. He said a firing squad of 14 personnel was deployed to execute one convict.

However, he did not know the exact date either, as coordination between the AGO and police had been made prior to the execution.

There were 65 drug convicts on death row as of 2015, according to AGO data.

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's administration has executed two groups of death-row convicts, both of which were carried out last year and comprise a total of 14 people.

The first round was conducted on January 18 with six drug convicts executed.

The second round shortly after, on April 29, especially dominated media headlines, since several of the eight people who were executed were foreigners whose deaths caused tensions between Indonesian and the respective home countries of the convicts.

Source: The Jakarta Post, May 4, 2016


Indonesia is preparing to execute prisoners, police official confirms

Spokesman says firing squad has been in training, risking backlash from foreign governments with citizens on death row

Indonesia is preparing to execute several prisoners, a police official has said, confirming reports that a year-long pause in the death penalty could be nearing an end.

Authorities have not said how many prisoners will face the firing squad or if foreigners will be among them. 2 Britons, Lindsay Sandiford and Gareth Cashmore, are on death row in the south-east Asian nation, which has a notoriously hardline attitude towards drug offences.

"We have had a warning since last month to prepare the place," said the Central Java provincial police spokesman Aloysius Lilik Darmanto.

"We carried out some rehabilitation of the location, like painting and repairs, because there will probably be more people who will be executed," he said, adding that the firing squad had been training and receiving counselling.

He declined to say how many prisoners would be executed, or when, or if there would be foreigners among them.

After 14 prisoners were executed in January and April 2015, drawing widespread international condemnation, scheduled executions were postponed, with officials saying the government preferred to focus on reviving the economy.

But President Joko Widodo's administration has pledged to resume executions by firing squad at an island prison on Nusa Kambangan, claiming they are a necessary response to the country's "drug emergency".

The most recent round of executions, in which eight men, including seven foreigners, were shot dead in April last year, sparked condemnation from Australia and Brazil, which had pleaded for their nationals to be spared. 2 Australian men, the Bali 9 pair Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, were executed, prompting the temporary withdrawal from Jakarta of Canberra's ambassador.

Authorities have not given a breakdown of the numbers of people sentenced to death, but according to Amnesty International, there were at least 165 people on death row at the end of 2015, and more than 40% of those were sentenced for drug-related crimes.

Many of them are foreigners, and citizens of France, Britain and the Philippines are known to be among them.

Sandiford, from the UK, was sentenced to death after being convicted in 2013 of trying to smuggle almost 4kg of cocaine into Bali.

Cashmore was sentenced to life imprisonment - later raised to death by firing squad - after he was caught with 6.5kg of crystal meth in his luggage at Jakarta airport in 2011.

A Philippine maid, Mary Jane Veloso, got a last-minute reprieve in April last year in response to a request from Manila after a woman whom Veloso had accused of planting drugs in her luggage gave herself up to police in the Philippines.

Her lawyer said he hoped she would not be in the next batch of prisoners to be executed. "The execution of Mary Jane should be delayed because we are waiting for the legal process in the Philippines," said the lawyer, Agus Salim.

A lawyer for Serge Atlaoui, a French national, said authorities had not contacted the French embassy on whether his client would be executed in the next batch. Atlaoui, who denies being the "chemist" for an ecstasy factory outside Jakarta, exhausted all legal appeals in mid-2015.

The government typically informs the embassies of foreign convicts only days before their executions.

Indonesia imposed a moratorium on executions for 5 years before resuming them in 2013. It has executed 14 people, most of them foreigners, under Widodo.

Indonesia's representative at a UN narcotics conference was jeered last month when he defended the use of capital punishment for drug offences, a penalty that is contrary to international law.

Source: The Guardian, May 4, 2016

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