Release date: 2 August 2016
LEDAP CALLS ON MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO BE MORE PROACTIVE.
The Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) condemns the recent executions of Nigerians by the Indonesian government despite numerous pleas for clemency and calls on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be more proactive.
A total of 14people (8 Nigerians) were scheduled for execution on Friday 29 July 2016. However, only 4 were of them were executed, 3 of them Nigerians. The Attorney General of Indonesia, HM Prasteyo, said the executions were postponed in order “to conduct further study”. There have been no concrete explanations for the postponement.
The Nigerians that were executed on Friday were Humphrey Jefferson Ejike, Micheal Titus Igwe and Seck Osmane. There are still 5 other Nigerians at risk of imminent execution.
While it is true that Nigeria still retains the death penalty, a distinction must be drawn between the use of the death penalty and the rights violations that Nigerians continuously suffer under the Indonesian judicial system. The trials are routinely plagued with allegations of human rights violations by the accused. The fact that the death penalty is still an acceptable form of punishment does not in any way diminish the responsibilities of the state to guarantee a fair and transparent judicial process, while also respecting and enforcing the human rights of the accused.
Furthermore, in the trial of Mr Ejike, the district court admitted to an unfair bias which targets Nigerians in Indonesia. In its judgement it stated that “black-skinned people from Nigeria” are under surveillance by police because they are suspected of drug trafficking in Indonesia. This clearly implies that a Nigerian is more likely than average to commit the crime of drug trafficking based solely on his race and the colour of his skin. This open bias and prejudice should be urgently addressed because it impugns on the rights of Nigerian citizens to have a free and fair trial, and to be presumed guilty until proven otherwise. A blanket assumption should not be made that a Nigerian is a drug trafficker simply because of his country of origin.
LEDAP once again calls on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to show more commitment and diligence in fulfilling its duties and obligations. We hereby remind the Ministry of its consular functions by virtue of Articles 5(i) and 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has, so far, not fulfilled its functions under this treaty.
There are still a number of Nigerians on death row in Indonesia and various other countries and it is hoped that the Ministry starts to carry out its consular functions properly and effectively to protect our citizens abroad, provide better representation for those accused of committing crimes and ensure they are not unfairly prejudiced.