Indonesia: The Coffins Have Arrived, Widodo Holds Firm

Today it was announced ten coffins have arrived on Nusakambangan island, Indonesia's island of death.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has refused to budge on the imminent executions of drug offenders, which by all accounts will proceed as soon as possible. He has tuned out requests by leaders of Brazil, Nigeria, France, the Philippines, and especially Australia.

What is fueling his stubborn resistance? He says other countries need to butt out and let Indonesia enforce its laws. He says this is about legal sovereignty and Indonesia's dignity. Shorter version: the politics of pride and nationalism. [More...]

At least three, and probably four of those set to be executed have legal reviews still in progress. How can executing someone before their appeals are finished be considered legal under any system? How do you fix it if they win? If they can't win under any circumstances, then it's not really a right of appeal but a legal sham. As one of the Bali Nine lawyers says:

Speaking outside Kerobokan prison after visiting the two Australians, Todung Mulya Lubis said there was no way the Attorney General can ignore the legal process...“There is no way the Attorney General can ignore the legal process. He has to respect the legal process because Indonesia is a state based on law,” Mr Lubis said. He said he had not spoken to the Attorney General about the case.

“The Attorney General is the Attorney General of the Republic of Indonesia. Indonesia is a state based on law. If you don’t respect the law what is the point of having a State based on the rule of law. As simple as that,” Mr Lubis said.

Widodo cites the need for deterrence because drugs are killing Indonesians. What better proof does he need that the death penalty is not a deterrent than the multiple drug arrests during the past 30 days, including major busts at the very prison island where executions take place? On Feb. 5,

The National Narcotics Agency (BNN) Central Java branch has smashed a drug ring in Nusakambangan Penitentiary in Cilacap, Central Java, revealing that two convicts were directing the trafficking of crystal methamphetamine across the country.

...“They used the cell phones to control the trade, transferring money via e-banking and using mules to deliver the drugs,” BNN Central Java chief Sr. Comr. Soetarmono said on Monday in Semarang. According to the BNN, the crystal meth came from a Nigerian syndicate.

This wasn't the first time:

The drug-ring bust was by no means the first at Nusakambangan. In one of the most recent busts at Nusakambangan in January 2013, Nigerian Adam Wilson, Singaporean Tan Swa Lin and Malaysian Lee Chee Hen were named as ringleaders by 16 drug couriers arrested in sting operations. The three were said to have taken orders from a kingpin in Malaysia. Tan is on death row in

In January, 2015, five days after six drug traffickers were executed and with the impending executions in the news almost every day since, The Daily Mail reports:

Five Indonesian police officers have been arrested on drug charges. One had over 7000 ecstasy pills and 700 grams of methamphetamines.

... Just days after five men and a woman were executed for drug offences, Indonesian narcotics police confirmed that five officers have been arrested for drug possession. One of the men now locked behind bars in the scandal is a member of a narcotics-busting unit - while another is a senior member of the National Police security and intelligence unit.

If it doesn't deter the inmates closest to the executions and police, who will it deter?

Which 10 drug offenders are now scheduled to be executed? It's not clear, and appears to change. Prior announcements had said 11 would be executed, and the list included 4 Indonesians, including 3 murderers. Now there's only 1 Indonesian on the list, the drug trafficker. Who is being added in their stead? Unknown, but there is speculation it may be more Nigerians.

9 of the ten are reported to be.

  • Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso (Philippines): Appeal and petition from Philippines pending and the Philippines apparently believes she won't be in this group. More here.
  • Serge Areski Atlaoui (France): His appeal is scheduled to be heard next month
  • Rodrigo Gularte (Brazil) (Mentally ill, further exam supposed to be conducted, but his lawyer says that hasn't happened yet. He is already at the death island.)
  • Myuran Sukumaran (Australia) (has 14 days to file another review)
  • Andrew Chan (Australia)(has 14 days to file another review
  • Martin Anderson alias Belo (Ghana)
  • Raheem Agbaje Salami (Nigeria)
  • Silvester Obikwe (Nigeria)
  • Zainal Abidin (Indonesia)

Indonesia also said today 6 of the 10 are already at the death island. Arrangements are underway to transport Myuran and Andrew. Ms. Veloso and Nigerian Raheem Agbaje Salami also have not yet been transported.

Also today there are new photos of the killing field on Nusakambangan Island, which was just "inaugurated" by firing squad members conducting an extensive practice shoot. The Daily Mail has published the 27 "shooting rules" that will be followed, in accordance with Indonesia's 1964 "Penetapan Presiden No. 2" death-penalty regulations, which are still in effect.

More from today: Indonesia has added a fully equipped Navy warship to secure the death island for the executions. Two days ago Indonesia officals said Sukkoi fighter jets would accompany a CN-295 military airbus to fly Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan from Kerobokan Prison on Bali to Nusakambangan island.

So much preparation in the face of so much world-wide objection. It seems like just pride and nationalism at work, by a newly elected President who's been catching heat for being too weak in dealing with corrupt officials.

Update: A poll now running at the Jakarta Globe shows overwhelming support for clemency for Bali Nine duo Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan.

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    by NYShooter on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 11:10:36 PM EST
    Indonesia's "politics of pride and nationalism" was also extended to forbidding it's poorest citizens from travelling overseas to work as maids, and such. The news report I saw claimed those citizens earn an average of 300% more overseas than they can earn at home. Indonesia's "Leadership" called permitting overseas' travel for the purpose of earning more money  an affront to Indonesia's "dignity."

    Now, that would be really, really funny if it wasn't so, so tragic.