2015: Eight drug smugglers in Indonesia

3 comments April 29th, 2015 Headsman

Moments after midnight today, Indonesia shot eight men for drug trafficking.


Coffins and grave markers for the condemned, readied prior to their executions.

Bitterly controversial in Australia and dominating headlines there at this hour, the execution’s most prominent victims were Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, condemned as ringleaders of an Australian drug-smuggling ring dubbed the Bali Nine. (The other seven members of the ring have prison sentences.)

Australia has reportedly withdrawn its ambassador to Indonesia to protest Jakarta’s turning a deaf ear to the many public and private appeals it has floated on behalf of its citizens.

The others shot early this morning were:

  • Nigerians Okwuduli Oyatanze, Martin Anderson, Raheem Agbaje Salami, and Silvester Obiekwe Nwolise
  • Brazilian Rodrigo Gularte
  • Indonesian Zainal Abidin

The party of eight was initially to be as many as ten. Frenchman Serge Atlaoui mounted a legal challenge that has for now delayed his execution; Filipina Mary Jane Veloso, who has claimed that she was completely unaware of the heroin hidden in her luggage when she arrived in Indonesia as an Overseas Filipina Worker, was spared just minutes before the execution at Manila’s urgent request when the woman alleged to have been her handler turned herself into police in the Philippines. But neither Atlaoui’s nor Veloso’s death sentence has actually been lifted, and both could eventually be shot to death

Chan’s and Sukumaran’s executions in particular are playing worldwide as a stark culture clash relative to a West that is more and more backing off the drug war,* especially given the widely advertised rehabilitation of Bali Nine duo. Chan found god; Sukumaran, a passion for painting.


Myuran Sukumaran’s ominous painting from just a few days ago: “Time is Ticking: Self-Portrait”

But one of the most self-evident readings of the affair is as a banal exercise in political expedience.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who hasn’t the firmest grasp on power in his country, has a surefire political winner in executing drug smugglers — plus a cherry on top for defying Australian meddling into the bargain.

Not that Widodo was ever likely to waver, but his southern neighbor’s great gnashing of teeth probably only strengthened his resolve to pull the trigger. If the intent of Indonesia’s death sentence is to scare prospective mules off crossing Indonesian soil, it was so much free advertising.

“This cannot be simply business as usual,” Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said — but both leaders know the score. Countries don’t undo statecraft for common criminals.

Feelings are sure to be raw for the immediate future, and matters might develop quickly for the still-ongoing sagas of Serge Atlaoui and Mary Jane Veloso. Live blogs at the Guardian have a fascinatingly wide spectrum of reaction (Twitter intervention by @AxlRose!) from the evening of the execution and its aftermath.

* What’s past is prologue.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 21st Century,Australia,Capital Punishment,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,Drugs,Execution,Indonesia,Last Minute Reprieve,Mass Executions,Not Executed,Ripped from the Headlines,Shot

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2008: The Bali Bombers

2 comments November 9th, 2008 Headsman

On this date — mere hours ago as of this writing — three of the most infamous terrorists in two nation’s histories were shot in a jungle clearing on Indonesia’s Nusa Kambangan Island.

“At around 00:15 am (1715 GMT Saturday) the three convicted men on death row, Amrozi, Mukhlas and Imam Samudra, were executed by firing squad,” said attorney general’s office spokesman Jasman Panjaitan.

“The autopsy results show that all three are dead. The family members are now bathing the bodies.” (Source.)

The men were taken from prison and tied to wooden crosses in the Indonesian prison island’s forest, where they were shot simultaneously by three separate firing squads for the October 12, 2002 bomb attack on the island of Bali that claimed 202 lives.

Though taking place in Indonesia, the strike was aimed at westerners vacationing at a tourist hot spot. Eighty-eight Australians were slain, along with 76 other (predominantly European) foreigners. The only shred of regret the late executees ever betrayed was that the infidel body count wasn’t higher.


The mediagenic murderers display a range from insouciant to jocular in most of their photos. The ever-grinning Amrozi — in the middle — was known as the “smiling assassin.”

The three facing death today* have occupied most of the intervening six years endeavoring to transmute their criminal celebrity into the dearer coinage of martyrdom through the doubtful influence of the Philosopher’s Stone mass media.

Despite their body count, burial disturbances, and even the prospect of some follow-up strike by at-large members of Jemaah Islamiyah, a base metal the late bombers will remain. Picture the most fanatical devotee of any cause you care to conjure drawing any enduring inspiration from this juvenile twaddle.

Indonesia has appeared to sidle towards this execution, ginger at inflaming Islamic radicals; Australia, which has no death penalty itself, has been controversially mum and bombing victims and their families conflicted.

It remains to be seen whether the high-profile case has legs among militants. But its undertones of race, religion and national sovereignty are being very closely watched by one group of Australians in particular: the Bali Nine, Australian nationals in Indonesian custody for drug smuggling.

Three of the nine are currently on death row, reportedly “somber” at this day’s shootings — no doubt aware that they could be next.

Update: True to the publicity-savvy rep, Imam Samudra reportedly knocked out a nasheed or nasyid just before his execution that’s now a hot ringtone download.

[audio:Imam_Samudra.mp3]

* A fourth man was also death-sentenced, but that sentence was vacated on appeal.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 21st Century,Australia,Capital Punishment,Crime,Death Penalty,Execution,God,History,Indonesia,Infamous,Martyrs,Murder,Popular Culture,Religious Figures,Ripped from the Headlines,Shot,Terrorists

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