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With Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement, the national fight to abolish capital punishment will have to go local.
When the Supreme Court revived capital punishment in 1976, just four years after de facto abolishing it, the justices effectively took ownership of the American death penalty and all its outcomes. They have spent the decades since then setting its legal and constitutional parameters, supervising its general implementation, sanctioning its use in specific cases, and brushing aside concerns about its many flaws.
That unusual role in the American legal system is about to change. With Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement from the court this summer, the Supreme Court will lose a heterodox jurist whose willingness to cross ideological divides made him the deciding factor in many legal battles. In cases involving the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, his judgment often meant the difference between life and death for hundreds of death-row pr…

Indonesia: Drug Convict Moved to Nusakambangan Island Ahead of Executions

Indonesian police officers
Jakarta. Convicted drug smuggler Merry Utami was moved from the Tangerang Women's Prison in Banten to Nusakambangan Island in Cilacap, Central Java, on Sunday morning (24/07), pointing to the likelihood that her execution may be imminent.

"According to reports I received, she was moved to an isolation cell at Besi Prison on Nusakambangan Island for some introduction," said Abdul Aris, coordinator for prisons in the Cilacap area, as reported by Antara news agency.

He was unable to explain, however, why the death-row inmate was moved to the notorious prison island, where executions are routinely carried out.

Merry was transported from Tangerang at around 4.30 a.m., escorted by members of the Police Mobile Brigade (Brimob).

The Tangerang District Court sentenced Merry to death in 2003 after she was arrested with 1.1 kilograms of heroin at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport outside Jakarta.

It has been an open secret that death-row inmates are moved to Nusakambangan Island to be held in isolation at Besi Prison before execution. After they arrive, inmates usually receive guidance from religious leaders for a few days while the government fulfils their last wishes before executing them by firing squad.

The Indonesian government plans to execute 18 drug convicts this year, and 30 more in 2017, Attorney General H.M. Prasetyo said last month. The third round of executions is scheduled to take place on the island, but Prasetyo has yet to announce the exact date.

Indonesia executed 14 convicts last year, including citizens of Australia, Brazil, the Netherlands and Nigeria, despite repeated pleas for mercy from foreign governments, international organizations and activists.

Only Mary Jane Veloso of the Philippines received a last-minute reprieve last year, following a request from Manila after an employment recruiter, whom Veloso had accused of planting drugs in her luggage, gave herself up to police. Veloso will not be included in this year's executions.

Source: Jakarta Globe, July 24, 2016


Death-row convict Merri Utami isolated in special cell in Nusakambangan

Merri Utami, a death-row drug convict, has been moved to Nusakambangan prison island in Cilacap, Central Java, as the next round of executions draws nearer.

Merri, from Sukoharjo, Central Java, had been serving her sentence at the Tangerang Women’s Penitentiary in Banten since 2004 before she was moved to Nusakambangan under tight escort at 4:30 a.m. local time on Sunday. Merri was sentenced to death for carrying 1.1 kilograms of heroin at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in 2003.

The transfer of Merry to Nusakambangan indicates that the third round of executions of drug convicts on the prison island will be carried out in the near future. The transfer was carried out not long after the Supreme Court rejected a second case review request filed by death-row convict Freddy Budiman on Friday.

“I’ve received a report that Merri Utami has been transferred to Nusakambangan and placed in a special room. It’s probable that the executions will be conducted next week but for an exact schedule, please ask the Attorney General’s Office. Technically, Nusakambangan is ready for the executions,” head of the correctional division facility at the Central Java office of the Law and Human Rights Ministry, Molyanto, told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.

Merri has been placed in an isolation cell at the Besi Prison. She is now the only female inmate at Nusakambangan, where around 1,000 high-security convicts, 50 of whom are on death row, are serving their sentences.

Attorney General HM Prasetyo had previously stated that the execution of several drug convicts would take place after Idul Fitri but the exact date of the executions remains unknown. In January 2015, six death-row inmates were executed in Nusakambangan, followed by eight more three months later.

Source: The Jakarta Post, Agus Maryono, July 25, 2016


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