Indonesia gives death row inmates 72 hours' notice

Media house ABC has revealed that the Indonesian government will secretly execute death row prisoners in their custody. According to the media house, a source confirmed that 14 prisoners are waiting to be executed which include Nigerians convicted for various drug trafficking offences.

Prior to this update, ABC reported that the Nigerian Embassy in Indonesia had been advised to visit their nationals who could be executed before the end of the week.

Now,  Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo plans to avoid media attention by setting up secretive executions due to the diplomatic setbacks he suffered after the publicised execution that held last year.

Here’s what ABC said:

“…the Indonesian president Joko Widodo is pushing ahead with the third round of executions endorsed during his leadership, but this time it’s more secretive and receiving far less attention. More than a dozen prisoners were summoned yesterday in a sign they could face the firing squad before the week is out. Foreigners are among the group, but this time there is no vocal fight to save their lives.”

Guardian UK adds that the confessions gotten from the convicts were mostly forced out from them through torture. And to draw worldwide attention to the situation, a community of lawyers ‘Community Legal Aid Institute (LBH)’ in Indonesia whose members had visited the prisoners held in isolation, have published the full list of convicts awaiting execution.

From the list, the community states that six Nigerians are awaiting execution and not four, as earlier reported:

Speaking with Guardian UK, Ricky Gunawan, the director of LBH, who is also the lawyer for Nigerian national Humphrey Jefferson ‘Jeff’ Ejike Eleweke, said he was with Jeff on Tuesday when he was called to sign the letter confirming the court’s decision that the ruling on his case was final and binding. But Jeff refused because the letter was practically a notice that he would be executed after 72 hours.

Jeff did not sign the acceptance letter, though,” Gunawan said, adding, “He signed a letter of refusal and told the prosecuting officer: ‘We are in the process of seeking clemency.’”

Jeff was convicted to death for allegedly being in possession of 1.7kg of heroin, but his lawyer Gunawan said he was not guilty of the crime; the lawyer had obtained a deathbed admission of guilt by a man who allegedly framed Jeff.

According to the report, Jeff had previously refused to file for clemency as it means an admission of guilt to crime. However, following the notice from the prison, the lawyer was forced to file a last minute clemency request which should delay the impending execution.

Legally speaking it should be enough,” Gunawan told the Guardian this morning. “Whether or not that will happen in practice, we don’t know.”

The Nigerian government is yet to react to the latest news.