Despite appeals by Amnesty International and other human rights groups opposed to the death penalty to the government of Indonesia to stay execution on convicted drug traffickers on their death row, three Nigerians were executed yesterday, July 28, 2016, after President Joko Widodo refused to back down on the sentence.
The executed convicts, Michael Titus Igweh, Nonso Kingsley Okonkwo and Humphrey Jefferson Ejike, had made passionate appeals to be spared but, according to the Indonesian government, the laws of their land had been broken and they had to pay.
While the fate of other death row convicts, including 21 more Nigerians, below are the profiles of the three and how they were arrested.
Michael Titus Igweh
Michael Titus Igweh, was sentenced to death in 2003 after he was nabbed by the narcotic agency and the police in a raid on his apartment in Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta, in July, 2002, where the police found 48 kg of heroin in the operation.
Though he had maintained his innocence till the end, the conviction was handed down on him on October 23, 2003, by the Tangerang District Court.
In his appeal for clemency, Igweh had told the court that the police had at various times, electrocuted his genitals and he was forced to plead guilty to the offence.
Nonso Kingsley Okonkwo
Another Nigerian convict executed on Thursday, July 28, 2016, was Nonso Kingsley Okonkwo who was arrested on arrival at the Polonia Airport, Medan, on October 25, 2003.
He had allegedly ingested 1.1kg of heroin and had passed the X-ray machines without detection until narcotics sniffer dogs found him out. While still pleading his innocence and claiming frame up, he was taken to a hospital where he was given drugs that made him excrete the heroin he had swallowed.
The police, during its investigations, were reported to have found that Okonkwo was a professional drug courier who had taken drugs into different Asian countries like Pakistan, Thailand, Indonesia.
He was sentenced to death by the District Court (PN), in May 2004, while the High Court (PT), confirmed the sentence on August 16, 2004 and an appeal rejected on February 16, 2006.
He further appealed to the Indonesian Supreme Court on November 24, 2014, but the appeal was thrown out as well. He was sentenced by the presiding justices, PK Artidjo Alkostarand Sri Murwahyuni.
Humphrey Jefferson Ejike
Humphrey Jefferson Ejike, popularly called Doctor, was arrested on August 2, 2003, at a restaurant in Jalan Wahid Hasyim, Central Jakarta. A search conducted in his house allegedly came up with 1.7 kg of heroin and he was promptly sentenced to death by the Central Jakarta District Court (PN Jakpus), while the Jakarta High Court, also threw out his appeal.
The police claim that even thought Ejike was in prison, he still had links with drug lords in and around the country and controlled a large portion of the illegal trade.
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