Bali Nine Duo To Be Moved to Death Island

Indonesia has approved the transfer of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, the Bali Nine duo scheduled for execution this month, to Nusakambangan, a prison island off central Java, where they will be taken to Batu Prison, known as “Indonesia’s Alcatraz” and then, within days, to a killing field, tied to a wooden cross and killed by a firing squad of police from Indonesia's BRIMOB. They will be shot through the heart (and if they don't die quickly, shot again behind the ear.)[More...]

Nigerian drug traffickers Samuel Iwachekwu Okoye and Hansen Antonious Nwaolisa were killed on the island for trafficking heroin in 2008.

They were tied to a wooden cross deep in the tropical rain forest in the middle of the night and shot, reports said at the time.

"Their death zone is known as Nirbaya, about 3 kilometres south of the jail, up a winding and narrow dirt track. The area itself is fringed by a mandarin and orange orchard," a report said.

Australian PM Tony Abbott continues his efforts to get Indonesia to spare Myuran and Andrew, and the Australian Foreign Minister has warned of a tourist boycott by Australians. Even U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has pleaded with Indonesia to call off the executions, but Indonesian President Joko Widodo is not listening.

Some Indonesian businesses recognize the potential fallout from the executions. Andrew and Myuran will be first be flown from Kerobokan Prison on Bali to Yogyakarta, and then driven for hours to Badu Prison. Garuda Airlines would like everyone to know it will not be flying Andrew and Myuran to Yogyakarta. Apparently concerned about a boycott, it posted this on its Facebook page:

Starwood Hotels, on the other hand, has no qualms about Indonesia. It just announced it will be opening 12 more hotels there, including 2 on Bali. That will make 9 hotels on Bali and 26 in Indonesia.

The company currently operates 14 properties nationwide under its Sheraton, Westin, Le Méridien, St. Regis, W Hotels and The Luxury Collection brand flags. In the next four years, Starwood will continue to ramp up its growth in Indonesia, with plans to open 12 additional hotels across the country.

...Four Points by Sheraton Bali, Kuta marks Starwood’s seventh property in Bali, with another two, The Westin Ubud and The Saraswati, a Luxury Collection Resort, Bali, slated for opening by 2016.

If you buy a Samsung phone, make sure you don't get one made in Indonesia. Samsung just bought a factory there. It's been operational for a month and expected to produce 800,000 phones a year.

"The Bachelor" episode airing Feb. 23 was filmed in Bali. Bali will likely rake in millions from it. Ratings for the Bachelor are higher than ever this season. The show will trend on Twitter for hours Monday night (especially since it's the "Fantasy Suite" episode with overnight dates). I hope someone starts a competing Twitter hashtag of "#Boycott Bali" or "#Death in Bali" while it's airing, and gets it trending at the same time. Indonesia's tourism officials (and hotel associations and others in the island's travel industry) will undoubtedly check Twitter to see how well the Bachelor did for the island -- they won't feel very good if they see calls for a boycott trending right alongside the Bachelor hashtag. (Since the episode was filmed before Indonesia's new President Joko Widodo announced Indonesia would resume executions this year after a 4 year hiatus, I'm not advocating a boycott of the Bachelor episode.)

Last week I wrote about Indonesia's hypocrisy when it comes to its own citizens. While it won't listen to leaders from Australia and other countries asking for reprieves for their citizens, it doesn't hesitate to lobby countries which have sentenced Indonesians to death, asking them for reprieves.

And it gets worse. Indonesia doesn't penalize Indonesian traffickers as harshly as foreigners, especially if they have money. It granted Indonesian Hangky Gunawan, owner of a meth factory caught with 11 kilos and originally sentence to death, a reprieve and a sentence reduction to 15 years.

Suddenly, the attitude of the court changed. The death penalty, it found, violated Article 28 of the Indonesian constitution, which guarantees everyone the right to life. It went against the country's 1999 law on human rights. The chief judge, Imron Anwari, went so far as to say the purpose of criminal sentencing was to educate, correct and prevent additional wrongdoing. It even quoted Article 3 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

But it didn't change for French citizen Serge Atlaoui who worked at a factory that produced ecstasy. He said he thought they were making acrylics. He was sentenced to life and the prosecution appealed. His sentence was changed to death, and he is expected to be executed this month with Andrew and Myuran.

Indonesia's foreign ministry has summoned Australian officials to a meeting Monday. But it's not to discuss whether Myuran and Andrew will be executed, it's merely to explain the procedures. Also summoned were officials from Ghana, France, the Philippines and Nigeria, whose citizens are scheduled to be executed this month. In addition to Myuran, Andrew and Serge, Indonesia will kill:

  • Martin Anderson (alias Belo, from Ghana) sentenced to death by South Jakarta District Court in June 2004 after being convicted of possessing 50 grams of heroin in Jakarta in November 2003
  • Zainal Abidin (Indonesia) initially sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment by Palembang District Court in September 2001 for smuggling 58.7 kilograms of marijuana. He was later sentenced to death by the Palembang High Court in December 2001
  • Raheem Agbaje Salami (Nigeria) initially sentenced to life imprisonment by Surabaya District Court in April 1999 for smuggling 5.3 kilograms of heroin into Indonesia at the East Java city's airport in September 1998. In May 2006 he was sentenced to death by the Supreme Court and was not able to appeal to a higher court, according to Amnesty International
  • Rodrigo Gularte (Brazil) was sentenced to death by the Tangerang District Court in February 2005 for smuggling six kilograms of cocaine into Jakarta. According to his lawyer, he has paranoid schizophrenia and has not been able to discuss his case with his counsel
  • Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso (Philippines) was sentenced to death in October 2010 for attempting to smuggle 2.6 kilograms of heroin into Indonesia from Malaysia in April 2010. Veloso, who comes from a poor rural family in the Philippines, was reportedly acting as a courier for an international syndicate when she was arrested on arrival at Yogyakarta, central Java from an Air Asia flight from Kuala Lumpur
  • Sylvester Obiekwe (alias Mustopa, from Nigeria) was first arrested in 2003 for smuggling 1.2 kilograms of heroin into Indonesia. He has since been caught operating drugs syndicates even from death row, and is considered a priority for execution.

There are beautiful beaches all over the world. Please do not give your tourist dollars to Bali or Indonesia which executes non-violent drug offenders. Visit Fiji, the Maldives, the Seychelles or Mauritius instead.

For more on Myuran and Andrew and Indonesia's execution of drug offenders, see some of my prior posts here, here and here.

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