Executions near as Indonesia's supreme court rejects petition

Executions near as Indonesia's supreme court rejects petition
Nancy Yuliana (front L), the lawyer of French prisoner Serge Atlaoui, listens to the judge during a trial in Tangerang, Banten province, on March 25, 2015. Lawyers for two Australian drug smugglers facing execution in Indonesia submitted evidence in court as part of their latest bid to avoid the firing squad, while a French death row convict had his appeal adjourned to next week.

Attorney General M. Prasetyo praised the Supreme Court's (MA) decision to reject a second case review petition filed by Philippines national Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso, adding that the decision helps clear the way for the Attorney General's Office (AGO) to carry out a second batch of executions.

Prasetyo said that the AGO would announce the date of the executions after the Supreme Court issued rulings on two other case-review petitions filed by two other drug convicts; Serge Areski Atlaoui of France and Martin Anderson alias Belo of Ghana.

Atlaoui is currently challenging his death penalty verdict, which stems from a November 2005 arrest where he was found in possession of 138.6 kilograms of methamphetamine, 290 kg of ketamine and 316 drums of drug-making ingredients at a factory in Cikande, Tangerang, Banten. Anderson was sentenced to death after being arrested with 50 grams of heroin in Kelapa Gading, Jakarta, in November 2003.

"From the very beginning we were prepared to conduct the executions, but we also must respect the legal process. The executions will be conducted as soon as we hear the result of the legal process of [the two other convicts]," Prasetyo said on Thursday.

Prasetyo added he hoped both appeals would be rejected so the AGO could proceed with the executions.

"I think the Supreme Court has the same spirit as us and we have to appreciate what it has ruled [on Veloso]," Prasetyo added.

Separately, Supreme Court spokesman Suhadi confirmed the rejection of Veloso's case-review petition, saying the panel of three justices - comprising Timur Manurung, Andi Samsan Nganro and Mohammad Saleh - ruled Wednesday that Veloso's petition failed to meet the requirements for a case review as stipulated in the Criminal Code (KUHP).

"The arguments [of the bench] are that the petition failed to meet requirements for a case review," Suhadi said on Thursday.

Veloso was sentenced to death after she was found guilty of attempting to conceal 2.6 kg of heroin at Adisucipto International Airport in April 2010 in Yogyakarta.

Veloso, Anderson and Atlaoui are three of 10 convicts who are set to be executed in the near future on the isolated Nusakambangan prison island near Cilacap, Central Java.

The other drug convicts facing imminent executions are Bali Nine duo Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan of Australia, Rodrigo Gularte of Brazil, Zainal Abidin of Indonesia and Raheem Agbaje Salami of Nigeria. Also slated to be executed are three convicted murderers of Indonesian nationality: Syofial alias Iyen bin Azwar, Harun bin Ajis and Sargawi alias Ali bin Sanusi.

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has reportedly declined multiple phone calls from Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who has very publicly pleaded with Jokowi to spare the lives of Sukumaran and Chan.

Abbott told reporters on March 5 he made such an appeal to Jokowi by phone and had been unsuccessful.

Indonesian Ambassador to Australia Nadjib Riphat Kesoema on Thursday brushed off intimations of a kind of snub.

"The President was too busy," the AP quoted the ambassador as telling reporters in the Australian capital of Canberra.

"Because, as you know, the President's first priority is his own people, to the provinces. Not only in Java, in Kalimantan or Sumatra, but also in Papua. So he is making a lot of trips," he said.

"I've certainly put in a request because the government and the people of Indonesia need to know that this is important to us," Abbott said in early March.

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