22 March 2018

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Duterte: No problem if Jakarta decides to execute Mary Jane Veloso

The Philippine president, on a diplomatic visit to Indonesia, had a private meeting with Widodo on the possible the condemnation of the Filipino woman. Veloso is in jail on charges of drug dealing, but her execution was postponed several times due to the efforts of former President Aquino and criticism of the Catholic Church.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - The Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte has given the green light for the execution of Mary Jane Veloso,  a filippino woman held on death row on charges of drug dealing. The news came via the statements of Joko Widodo, President of Indonesia, which reported a conversation with the leader of Manila.

Duterte is in Indonesia for a two-day visit. Widodo spoke to the press in Serang (Banten), during which he took part in the Hajj "Lebaran" Idul Adha, the Islamic feast which includes a sacrifice in the Great Mosque of the city. "I talked to the president Duterte about the Mary Jane Veloso case - said Widodo - and the fact that the woman brought 2.6 kilos of heroin into Indonesia. I also shared with him my thoughts on the possible cancellation of her execution. "

"During our discussion - he added - President Duterte told me that 'it's ok' if the Indonesian authorities decide to go ahead with the execution".

Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso, a 31 year old domestic worker, has been held on death row in Indonesia since 2010 after she was stopped at the airport with 2.6 kilos of heroin. The woman has always declared herself innocent, claiming she became a drug courier without unknowingly. Requests for clemency have been made by the Philippine Church, the Indonesian, and several Asian countries. In recent weeks, the defense lawyers have produced "new evidence" that would prove the woman innocent. Joko Widodo said that the Indonesian Justice Department has not yet disclosed the decision on the new evidence.

So far Veloso has been spared in rounds of executions carried out by the Indonesian authorities, the last of which was in July. The woman is set to appear as a witness in the trial of Maria Kristina Sergio, suspected of having "recruited" Veloso  under false pretenses to make her a drug courier.

Indonesia, the most populous Muslim nation in the world, has one of the strictest anti-drug laws in the world, to fight what President Joko Widodo has called "a national emergency." From 1979 to 2015, 66 executions have been carried out.

Former Philippine President Benigno Aquino had tried to put pressure on the Indonesian Government to suspend the Veloso’s sentence. Unlike the Rodrigo Duterte’s approach who, from the outset of his election campaign, promised death to all the dealers present in the Philippines and is condemned by the international community for the spate of extrajudicial killings (about 3 thousand) of alleged traffickers.

See also

For Filipino bishop, Mary Jane Veloso is innocent; those who took advantage of her should be punished
The Filipino woman is in jail in Indonesia, convicted of drug trafficking. The death sentence still hangs over her. The president of the Episcopal Commission for the care of migrants told AsiaNews, “They used her, and robbed her of her innocence.” The Church will pray for her and protect her children. “We hope and we are convinced that Mary Jane will be spared the death sentence.”

14/06/2016 17:44:00 INDONESIA
Jakarta ready to execute 48 drug traffickers

In mid-July, after Ramadan, 18 death row inmates will be executed. Another 30 are set for early 2017. More and more young people are getting addicted to drugs. About 104,000 have died so far. Currently, 50 people die from overdose every day. The Indonesian Church is involved in rehab work, but lacks the facilities.

12/05/2016 14:18:00 INDONESIA
Jakarta: firing squads ready for 15 drug traffickers

No official date has been set, but death row inmates, five Indonesians and 10 foreigners, will be executed "in mid-May”. Mary Jane Veloso, a 30-year-old Filipina maid sentenced to death, was spared because her case is being prepared in the Philippines.

06/10/2016 10:04:00 PHILIPPINES
76% of Filipinos are "satisfied" with the first 100 days of Duterte

This was revealed by a survey of the Social Weather Stations. Only 11% of voters are dissatisfied. It is the second highest percentage in the history of Philippine presidents. Massacre of alleged drug dealers continues: more than 3 thousand deaths.


Indonesia, Catholics pray for Filipino on death row
A national prayer campaign for 30 year-old Mary Jane, sentenced to death (though innocent) for drug trafficking. The initiative was launched to coincide with the feast of Divine Mercy. Her family targeted with threats. Her mother: "I fear for my grandchildren’s lives".

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