09/12/2016, 12.48
INDONESIA - PHILIPPINES

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

by Mathias Hariyadi

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.

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