04/09/2015, 00.00
PHILIPPINES - INDONESIA
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Filippino on death row, family appeals to President Widodo

The parents and sister of 30 year old Mary Jane , mother of two children, are appealing to the Indonesian leader. If killed, they say, "your hands are soiled with her blood” The woman’s two children have "lost hope" of ever seeing her again. Manila will forward a new request for her release.

Manila (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The family of a young Filipino woman, on death row in Indonesia and (albeit presumed innocent) waiting to be executed, have launched a moving appeal for her release.

In their message, her family point out that the 30 year old Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso, a single mother of two young children, was the victim of a scam perpetrated by a gang dedicated to international drug trafficking. Her parents and sister strongly affirm that the woman was not aware of drugs, hidden inside a bag that had been entrusted to her on her departure, in Malaysia. Recently the Indonesian and Filipino Church also mobilized to ask for her release.

Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso, simple woman and mother of two children, age 25 she moved to Malaysia to work as a domestic worker. A local fixer, active in recruiting and in the sorting of workers in the various families, entrusts an assignment: to carry a suitcase - of which the young Filipino ignores the contents - and deliver it to some people who would have met at the airport of Yogyakarta Indonesia.

Reached its destination, Mary Jane is controlled by border police who discovers, in the bag, 2.6 kg of heroin, worth a total of about 500 thousand dollars. We are in April 2010 and since then begins the ordeal and judicial staff of the woman. During the trial could not receive adequate assistance, and only recently, thanks to the efforts of a priest, his drama began circulating within the Catholic community first, and then in public opinion.

Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso, a simple woman and mother of two children, at age 25 moved to Malaysia to work as a domestic worker. A local boss, active in recruiting migrant workers and placing them among various families, entrusted her with an assignment: to carry a suitcase - the contents of which the young Filipino knew nothing- and deliver it to some people who would have met her at the Yogyakarta airport in Indonesia.

On reaching her destination, Mary Jane was checked by border police who discovered, 2.6 kg of heroin in the bag, worth a total of about 500 thousand dollars. That was in April 2010 and since then the woman’s judicial and personal ordeal began. During the trial she was not given adequate assistance, and only recently, thanks to the efforts of the priest, has her drama began circulating within the Catholic community first, and then public opinion.

Marites Veloso-Laurente, sister Mary Jane, has appealed directly to the Indonesian president Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to "not kill my sister," because "she is innocent" and if she dies "your hands will be soiled with her blood." Her father denounces threats to the family by those who exploited his daughter for the transport of drugs.

The family is originally from a small town located about three hours  north of Manila. In 2009 Mary Jane had found a job as a maid in Dubai, but fled after his employer had tried to rape her. A family friend offered her, later, a job in Malaysia. Once there, some people have said that there were more employment opportunities in Indonesia. Hence she left for Yogyakarta, with the load of hidden heroin - without her knowledge - in a bag entrusted to her.

When arrested, the children of the young Filipino woman were seven and one. "They have lost hope" of ever seeing her again says 55 year-old Celia, the girl's mother. "I speak to you and I implore you, Mr. Indonesian President – adds her mother - if my daughter was really involved in drug-trafficking, we would not be so poor."

There are about 10 million overseas Filipino workers, most of whom see migration as the only chance to escape poverty. In the past the government in Manila has warned citizens of the danger of being involved, even unconsciously, in the international drug trade. Worldwide there are at least 125 Filipinos on death row, many of them convicted because of crimes linked to drug trafficking. Last week the Indonesian Supreme Court rejected the request to reopen the case involving the young Mary Jane; Manila announced that it will forward a second appeal to the authorities in Jakarta.

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