Indonesia moves Filipino inmate to island before executions

AP News
Posted: Apr 24, 2015 9:04 AM
Indonesia moves Filipino inmate to island before executions

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A Filipino woman facing the death penalty in Indonesia was moved Friday to an island prison where she and nine other drug convicts are to be executed by firing squad.

An armored personnel carrier and a car were seen arriving at a port for the short trip to Nusakambangan island, and prison officials said Mary Jane Veloso was inside the car. Tony Spontana, a spokesman for the Indonesian attorney general, confirmed that Veloso had been moved.

"She was directly placed in an isolation room separated from the other nine," Spontana said, adding that her move followed up on orders for prosecutors to prepare executions once all legal aspects had been fulfilled.

Nine of the inmates awaiting execution are foreigners, and Spontana said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs invited representatives of their home countries to come Saturday to Nusakambangan island. He did not elaborate.

Indonesian officials have not said when the executions will take place but has vowed to carry them out despite their home countries' objections. The other foreigners are three Nigerian men, two Australian men and a man each from Brazil, Ghana and France.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop appealed for Indonesia to show mercy but said she feared the worst. "I fear that Indonesia will seek to proceed with the execution of the two Australian citizens. I am deeply and profoundly concerned about this," she said while at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

Veloso's case has caused a public outcry in the Philippines. She traveled to Indonesia in 2010 where her godsister reportedly told her a job as a domestic worker awaited her. Her godsister also allegedly provided the suitcase where the drugs were found.

In Manila, about 100 supporters of Veloso, including her husband Michael Candelaria and an older brother, picketed the Indonesian embassy, pleading to spare her life.

"It is very hard for us to accept that she is innocent but she will still be executed," Candelaria said. "God knows she is innocent."

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Jesus Yabes said a second appeal filed Friday includes proof that Veloso is not a drug smuggler based on the findings of a Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency team that visited her in prison last month.

Her move to the island prison comes after Indonesia's Supreme Court earlier this week turned down the final appeals by prisoners from France and Ghana.

Appeals have been exhausted for all 10 condemned inmates except Raheem Agbaje Salame of Nigeria, who filed a request for a judicial review.

The planned executions have soured relations between Indonesia and other countries. President Joko Widodo has vowed not to grant mercy to drug offenders because Indonesia is suffering a "drug emergency."

In Paris, French President Francois Hollande urged Indonesian authorities to grant clemency to Atlaoui, telling a news conference that executing Atlaoui "would be damaging for the relations we want to have with Indonesia."

More than 130 people are on death row in Indonesia, including 57 drug convicts.