By Chioma Uzochukwu & Chioma Okpala
JAKARTA—Two Indonesian lawyers representing 18 Nigerians on death row in their country, have called on the federal government to intervene by writing a letter of postponement of their execution to their home government in line with Indonesia’s laws.
The 18 Nigerians were sentenced to death for drug-related offences, but the lawyers, Syamsul Bahri Kayas SH and Marina Puspa Dewi HS, handling the case of one of the suspects, Obinna Nwajagu, said it was important the Nigerian government obtained the legal rights of their client and the 17 other Nigerians.
They also asked the Nigerian Embassy in Indonesia to, from time to time, provide assistance and support to their client and the other convicts, including and not limited to consultation or correspondence with the relevant judicial institutions and /or other agencies in Indonesia in relation to information and/or evidences required to clarify the disposition of their client’s legal case.
“As a Nigerian citizen, our client and others are entitled to have support from the government of Nigeria in this matter through the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Jakarta to help our client and 17 others obtain their legal rights maximally pursuant to laws and regulations applicable in Indonesia,” the lawyers said in a letter addressed to Nigeria’s Ambassador to Indonesia, Mr. Ibrahim Mai-Sule.
The letter, dated August 16, 2010, said: “We request that the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria send letter of postponement of execution on our client and 17 others to the Attorney General’s Office of the Republic of Indonesia.
“They should also conduct deliberation between the Nigerian government, through the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and government of the Republic of Indonesia.
The letter was also e-mailed to Mr. Melly Eze, the Nigerian lawyer and civil right activist who had been championing the cause for the freedom of the victims.
Reacting to the eight-paged letter, Eze said his attitude towards it was that of excitement and sadness, saying “I am excited that indigenous solicitors from Indonesia are fighting for the lives of our brothers. I am sad because even though the Senate President, Senator David Mark, and Senator Uche Chukwumerije, including House Committee Chairman on Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, promised that something must be done, nothing positive has happened since 2008 we started the campaign to save their lives.”