Release date: 28 July 2016
IMMMINENT EXECUTION OF NIGERIANS: LEDAP CALLS ON THE NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT TO INTERVENE
LEDAP calls on the Nigerian Government to urgently intervene in the imminent executions of some Nigerians in Indonesia. The office of the Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo has announced that 14 drug convicts will be executed soon.
We have been informed by Ricky Gunawan, director of LBH Masyarakat (LBHM) and lawyer to one Humphrey “Jeff” Jefferson Ejike, that his client, 3 Nigerians and 4 others, possibly Nigerians are some of the 14 prisoners on death row that will be executed soon, possibly as soon as Friday 29 July 2016.
It is to be recalled that the Indonesian government also executed 4 Nigerians in April of last year. Nigerians at risk of imminent execution are Obinna Nwajiagu, Seck Osmane (Nigerian or South African), Frederick Luttar (Nigerian or Zimbabwean), Okonkwo Nonso Kingsley (Nigerian or Sierra Leonean), Ozias Sibanda (Nigerian or Zimbabwean), Eugene Ape and Michael Titus Igweh.
Mr. Igweh, a clothes exporter, was sentenced to death in 2003 for possessing 5.8 kilograms of heroin. Mr Igweh has claimed that the police electrocuted his genitals to force him to confess to possessing heroin. Mr Sitor Siumorang, who is representing Mr Igweh, has said that the latter’s conviction was based on the testimony of two alleged accomplices, Marena and Izuchukwe Okoloaja, who have died in police custody and could not testify in court. He also said that he believes they gave up Michael’s name because they had been severely tortured and most likely died as a result.
Claims that prisoners are tortured for confessions and that Nigerians and foreigners are intentionally targeted have been so rampant that it must be assumed there is some truth in it. It is rather unreasonable that executions have continued despite many prisoners claiming multiple violations of their rights without proper investigations into such claims. Igweh is one of several prisoners on death row who claimed that they were tortured and that their trials were marred by corruption and unfair practices.
In October 2014, President Joko Widodo became president and promised respect for human rights. However, his administration has consistently and persistently failed to uphold international human rights obligations and standards for death penalty cases. In addition, the government has always claimed that it applies the death penalty in line with international law provisions and standards. It is difficult to see how the government of Indonesia can take such a position since drug related offences do not fall under the category of “most serious crimes” to which the use of the death penalty may be permitted.
Chino Obiagwu, National Coordinator of LEDAP, reacting to these developments, as reiterated that “numerous studies have concluded that there is absolutely no evidence to suggest the death penalty acts as an effective deterrent. LEDAP maintains its position that the death penalty is barbaric, inhumane and has no place in a civilized world, and also uses this medium to call on the Nigerian government to follow in the steps of majority of the countries of the world by establishing a moratorium, and then abolishing the death penalty.”
LEDAP uses this opportunity to call on the Nigerian government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to increase its efforts in fighting for, and representing Nigerians on death row abroad. The Pakistani and Malaysian governments have had some success in negotiating for the return of some of their citizens on death row in Indonesia. The Nigerian government, if dedicated and persistent enough, can surely speak out on behalf of its citizens and prevent their imminent executions.
LEDAP also urges the Nigerian Government to enter into a Prisoner Exchange Agreement with the Indonesian government, and other countries with Nigerians in their prisons. Nigeria already has a Prisoner Exchange Agreement with Thailand and the United Kingdom, where citizens who commit crimes can be transferred to their homelands to serve their sentences. It is hoped that such agreement can be concluded with the government of Indonesia, and well as with other countries to forestall and prevent further executions of Nigerians abroad.