The story of eight Indonesian executions and one miracle survivor

  • Agencies, Jakarta
  • Updated: Apr 30, 2015 18:21 IST

The last-minute reprieve for a Filipina drug convict facing execution in Indonesia sparked an outpouring of euphoria and disbelief on Wednesday, with crowds of supporters weeping with joy and her children crying "Mama will live!"

Mary Jane Veloso's family said their prayers had been answered after it emerged that the 30-year-old single mother was not among a group of foreign drug convicts sent to the firing squad shortly after midnight.

"Miracles do come true," Veloso's mother, Celia, told Manila radio from Indonesia.

Protesters who had been keeping vigil outside the Indonesian embassy in Manila wept with joy, hugged each other and raised clenched fists in the air.

Veloso's sons, aged six and 12, who went to Indonesia last week to say goodbye to their mother, were overjoyed and yelled: "Yes, yes! Mama will live!" according to their grandmother.

Veloso has always maintained that an international human trafficking and drug gang tricked her into bringing 2.6kg of heroin to Indonesia from Malaysia five years ago.

She was granted an 11th-hour stay of execution after the person suspected of asking her to carry the drugs turned herself in to authorities in the Philippines.

Here are profiles of the seven foreigners and one Indonesian who were executed at a high-security Indonesian prison island:

Myuran Sukumaran

A ringleader of the Bali Nine drugs smuggling syndicate, Sukumaran was born in London in 1981 and moved with his Sri Lankan family to Australia when he was a child.

He dropped out of university and became involved in the Sydney drugs and party scene. Enticed by the prospect of easy money, in 2005 he helped to organise a shipment of heroin destined for Australia, but was caught and sentenced to death a year later.

Sukumaran said the shock of jail prompted him to change his life and he has become a model prisoner, teaching other inmates English and art. He has also become an accomplished artist himself, painting several pictures in his final days on Nusakambangan, the high-security prison island where Indonesia carries out executions.

One of his lawyers returned from a visit to the island Tuesday with a painting signed by all nine death row convicts. It was entitled "One Heart, One Feeling, One Love" and depicted a heart in bold colours.

Andrew Chan

Like Sukumaran, Chan, 31, also hails from Sydney. He was born in 1984 to Chinese-immigrant parents Ken and Helen, who spent some four decades running restaurants. Chan started taking drugs when he was 16 and said his parents were unable to control him.

Just two years after Chan's parents retired, they were told their 21-year-old son had been arrested in Indonesia for being a ringleader of a heroin-smuggling gang. In jail he has become a committed Christian and, after six years of theology study, he was ordained as a minister in February.

On Monday, he married his Indonesian girlfriend, Febyanti Herewila, in a jailhouse ceremony, his final wish before facing the firing squad. Like Chan, Herewila is a pastor. She got to know Chan while helping inmates at the jail on Bali island, where he was until recently imprisoned.

Rodrigo Gularte

Brazilian Gularte, 42, was arrested in 2004 while trying to enter Indonesia with six kilograms of cocaine stashed in his surfing gear.

His family have tried without success to obtain clemency for him by saying doctors have classed him as paranoid schizophrenic, which would normally see him transferred to a psychiatric facility.

Sylvester Obiekwe Nwolise

Nwolise is a 49-year-old Nigerian who was found guilty in September 2004 of trafficking 1.18 kilos of heroin through Sukarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta two years earlier.

His clemency appeal was rejected in February this year.

The previous month, Indonesia's national narcotics body said he was running a drugs ring in jail, according to Nigeria's National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

Okwudili Oyatanze

Fellow Nigerian Oyatanze, 45, was sentenced to death for trafficking heroin, also through Sukarno-Hatta airport, in 2001.

His clemency appeal was rejected earlier this year.

Raheem Agbaje Salami

The NDLEA said Salami appears to be Nigerian but holds a Spanish passport and is thought to be also known by the name Jamiu Owolabi Abashin.

He entered Indonesia using a Spanish passport under the name Raheem Agbaje Salami.

He was caught with five kilos of heroin inside a suitcase at the airport in Surabaya, Indonesia's second-largest city, on September 2, 1998 and was sentenced to life imprisonment the following year.

That was reduced by the high court to 20 years, but he was later given the death sentence by the supreme court.

Martin Anderson

There is some confusion about Anderson's nationality. A spokesman for Indonesia's attorney-general said he is Nigerian but Nigeria's NDLEA said he is a Ghanaian citizen who was born in London in 1964.

He was arrested in Jakarta in 2003 and sentenced to death.

Zainal Abidin bin Mahmud Badarudin

Zainal Abidin bin Mahmud Badarudin, 50, Indonesia, arrested at his home in 2000 with about 59kg of marijuana.

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