Tuesday, April 28, 2015 5:18 pm
Despite global pleas,including from the UN Secretary-general Ban Ki Moon, Indonesia remained adamant in carrying out the death sentence on four Nigerians and four other drug traffickers.
The authorities have ordered the nine convicts, including a Filipina to be tied to the stakes by midnight and shot.
Religious counsellors, doctors and the firing squad were alerted to start final preparations for the execution, and a dozen ambulances, some carrying white satin-covered coffins, were seen arriving at the Indonesian prison.
The nine drug traffickers held emotional farewell meetings with their families at the Indonesian prison on the island off Central Java Coast on Tuesday.
“I won’t see him again,” said Raji Sukumaran, the mother of an Australian who will go before a firing squad along with a fellow countryman and convicts from Nigeria, Brazil, the Philippines and Indonesia.
“They’re going to take him at midnight and shoot him. I’m asking the government not to kill him. Please don’t kill him today,” she told reporters, weeping as she spoke.
“I saw today something that no other family should ever have to go through. Nine families inside a prison saying goodbye to their loved ones,” said Chan’s brother, Michael. “It’s torture.”
The last time a group of drug traffickers were executed earlier this year it was carried out at midnight.
The prisoners will be given the choice to stand, kneel or sit before the firing squad, and to be blindfolded. Their hands and feet will be tied.
Twelve marksmen are assigned to fire at the heart of each prisoner, but only three have live ammunition. Authorities say this is so that the executioner remains unidentified.
Profiles of the Nine Convicts:
Here are brief profiles of the inmates, who include two from Australia, one each from Brazil, France and the Philippines, and four from Nigeria.
Nwolise is a 49-year-old Nigerian who was found guilty in September 2004 of trafficking 1.18 kilos of heroin through Sukarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta in 2002.
His clemency appeal was rejected in February this year.
The previous month, Indonesia’s national narcotics body said he was running a drugs ring in jail, according to Nigeria’s National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
Fellow Nigerian Oyatanze, 45, was sentenced to death for trafficking heroin, also through Sukarno-Hatta airport in 2001.
His clemency appeal was rejected earlier this year.
Raheem Agbaje Salami
The NDLEA said Salami appears to be Nigerian but holds a Spanish passport and is thought to be also known by the name Jamiu Owolabi Abashin.
He entered Indonesia using a Spanish passport under the name Raheem Agbaje Salami.
He was caught with five kilos of heroin inside a suitcase at the airport in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second-largest city, on September 2, 1998 and was sentenced to life imprisonment the following year.
That was reduced by the high court to 20 years but he was later given the death sentence by the supreme court.
There is some confusion about Anderson’s nationality. A spokesman for Indonesia’s attorney-general said he is Nigerian but Nigeria’s NDLEA said he is a Ghanaian citizen who was born in London in 1964.
He was arrested in Jakarta in 2003 and sentenced to death.
A ringleader of the Bali Nine drugs smuggling syndicate, Sukumaran was born in London in 1981 and moved with his Sri Lankan family to Australia when he was a child.
He dropped out of university and became involved in the Sydney drugs and party scene. Enticed by the prospect of easy money, in 2005 he helped to organise a shipment of heroin destined for Australia, but was caught and sentenced to death a year later.
Sukumaran said the shock of jail prompted him to change his life and he has become a model prisoner, teaching other inmates English and art.
Like Sukumaran, Chan, 31, also hails from Sydney. He was born in 1984 to Chinese-immigrant parents Ken and Helen, who spent some four decades running restaurants. Chan started taking drugs when he was 16 and said his parents were unable to control him.
Just two years after Chan’s parents retired, they were told their 21-year-old son had been arrested in Indonesia for being a ringleader of a heroin-smuggling gang. In jail he has become a committed Christian and, after six years of theology study, he was ordained as a minister in February.
A welder by trade and father of four, Atlaoui was nabbed in a 2005 raid on a secret drug laboratory outside Jakarta. The 51-year-old French national has maintained his innocence, claiming he was installing machinery in what he thought was an acrylics plant. But police describe him as a “chemist” in the massive drugs factory.
Atlaoui appealed against his life sentence only to have it upgraded to death in 2007. He has been detained on Nusakambangan island, the site of executions for Indonesia’s worst criminals, for 10 years.
His wife Sabine has been making the long journey from Europe to the remote island with their children –- including three-year-old Yasin –- for many years.
Mary Jane Veloso
Born to a poor family in the Philippines, Veloso, 30, is a single mother of two boys who insists she went to Indonesia for a job as a maid and was duped by an international drug syndicate.
She was arrested in 2009 with 2.6 kilograms (5.7 pounds) of heroin sewn into the lining of her suitcase.
Veloso says she was first offered a job by a friend in Malaysia, but upon her arrival she was told the work was actually in Indonesia so immediately flew there. She claims the heroin was secretly hidden in her suitcase in Malaysia.
Her sons, now aged six and 12, are spending her final days with her in Indonesia.
Brazilian Gularte, 42, was arrested in 2004 while trying to enter Indonesia with six kilograms of cocaine stashed in his surfing gear.
His family have tried without success to obtain clemency for him by saying doctors have classed him as paranoid schizophrenic, which would normally see him transferred to a psychiatric facility.