JAKARTA (Reuters) – The office of Indonesia’s ombudsman has unearthed evidence of rights violations in the execution of a Nigerian drug convict last year, an official said on Friday.
Humphrey Jefferson was still seeking clemency from President Joko Widodo at the time of his execution, which meant he still had a chance of being pardoned, said Ninik Rahayu, an official of the ombudsman’s office who is overseeing the case.
Jefferson, sentenced to death in 2004, had also sought a second judicial review of his case by the Supreme Court, but his request was denied by the Central Jakarta court without proper explanation, Rahayu said, in what she called maladministration.
If the court had taken on Jefferson’s case, his execution would have had to be delayed until its final verdict.
“When one is given the death penalty, all of the procedures must be done according to the laws,” Rahayu told reporters at her office.
“The rights of the person must be fully met before his sentence is carried out. You can’t bring back the dead to life.”
Rahayu also said the Attorney General’s office, responsible for conducting the execution, had not followed rules requiring it to give Jefferson and his family 72 hours’ notice of the event.
The execution was done according to law, said Muhammad Rum, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s office.
Telephone calls to the Central Jakarta court to seek comment were not answered.
A Supreme Court spokesman, Judge Suhadi, who goes by one name like many Indonesians, did not comment on the specific case but said the court did not generally grant a second review.
Jefferson, two other Nigerians and an Indonesian were the only prisoners to face the firing squad on July 29 last year, from a group of 14 picked initially. [nL4N1AF25O]
The delay was due to a “comprehensive review”, said Attorney General H. Muhammad Prasetyo.
The executions were the second round under Widodo, whose predecessor, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, imposed a moratorium on the death penalty.
Many international bodies and foreign governments have urged Indonesia to pardon those on death row. They have also called on Indonesia to abolish capital punishment, but the calls have gone unheeded.
Widodo has told law enforcement officers not to hesitate in shooting drug traffickers who resist arrest in the war on drugs. [nL3N1KD047]
The ombudsman’s office has given government bodies 60 days to respond to its findings. But its limited powers mean it can only take its recommendations to Widodo in cases of failure to respond.
Jefferson’s lawyer, Ricky Gunawan, said he planned to use the ombudsman’s findings to file a civil lawsuit against the office of the attorney-general, seeking compensation for his client.
“We call on the Attorney General’s office to stop the preparation of any future death execution … and treat the convicts with respect and have their rights fulfilled,” Gunawan said.
Reporting by Gayatri Suroyo; Editing by Ed Davies and Clarence Fernandez