Mar 272015

MANILA, Philippines—Indonesia is preparing to move a Filipino death row inmate for execution after she lost her appeal in the Supreme Court earlier this week, the attorney general’s spokesperson said on Friday.

The planned executions of Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso and nine other mostly foreign drug traffickers have drawn international criticism after repeated pleas for mercy from the United Nations and various governments have gone unheeded by President Joko Widodo.

Veloso will be moved from the city of Yogyakarta to the maximum security prison on Nusakambangan Island in Central Java, where the rest of the group awaits execution by firing squad.

‘Case is done’

“We can say that (Veloso’s) case is done,” the attorney general’s spokesperson Tony Spontana told reporters.

“There will be preparations to move her soon because the plan to execute all (10 convicts) at once hasn’t changed.”

The attorney general’s office has yet to announce a date for the executions.

Indonesia has harsh penalties for drug trafficking and resumed executions in 2013 after a five-year gap.

But Philippine officials have not lost hope for Veloso despite its Supreme Court ruling denying an appeal for a judicial review of the case.

“Our initial appeal for judicial review was denied. Nonetheless, we will continue to exhaust all possible legal means to save the life of Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso,” said Assistant Secretary Charles Jose, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesperson.

According to the English-language newspaper Jakarta Post, a panel of three justices ruled on Wednesday that Veloso’s petition failed to meet the requirements of a case review as stipulated in Indonesia’s the Criminal Law Procedures Code.


Final battleground

Jose earlier called the judicial review as the “final legal battleground” for Veloso, who is due to be executed by firing squad along with other foreign nationals convicted of drug smuggling.

Veloso was caught at Java’s Yogyakarta airport carrying 2.6 kilograms of heroin on a flight from Malaysia on April 25, 2010. She was sentenced to death in 2011.

Vice President Jejomar Binay on Friday renewed his appeal to Indonesian President Joko Widodo for the commutation of the death sentence of Veloso.

“I am once again appealing to President Widodo’s good heart for the commutation of the death sentence of our kababayan, Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso, who is scheduled to be executed in Yogyakarta,” he said in a statement.

“I ask this, with the deepest bond of brotherhood and friendship of our peoples, a bond that I am confident will only grow stronger in the years to come,” he added.

In the appeal for judicial review, Veloso’s lawyers argued that the Filipina was not provided a capable translator during her trial, an argument which the Supreme Court has not given weight.

“We are saddened that the Indonesian Supreme Court has chosen not to grant Mary Jane’s lawyers’ request for a judicial review of her case. Nonetheless, we reiterate the Philippines’ full awareness and respect for Indonesia’s laws and legal system,” the Vice President said.

Binay said Veloso, a widowed mother of two, was not part of any organized drug syndicate, saying she, too, was a victim.

“She was unwittingly taken advantage of by a person whom she gave her complete trust and confidence when the latter asked her to hand-carry a piece of luggage containing illegal drugs,” Binay said.

Indonesia plans to execute all 10 convicts—including Veloso—at the same time, but said it will wait for any outstanding legal appeals to conclude.

The cases of Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, leaders of the so-called “Bali Nine” drug syndicate, are also on appeal and delaying the execution.

In an interview with reporters, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said the DFA will wait for the copy of the Supreme Court ruling before it formalizes another request for a judicial review.

“We’re waiting for the ruling of the court so we can read exactly on what basis they denied our claim,” Del Rosario said.

“We are taking the position that there will be no execution for at least two weeks until the documents come down from the court,” he said.


No firing squad yet for doomed Filipina

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