General News of Friday, 6 March 2015
Source: Graphic Online
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says its hands are tied in saving the life of Martin Anderson, the Ghanaian facing the death sentence in Indonesia for drug offences.
The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Thomas K. Quartey, told the Daily Graphic that “the situation looks grime. At this moment, we can’t do much. We can only hope and pray.”
“There are many instances when Ghanaians have been found in similar situations. Our difficulty is that the South East Asians apply their death penalty strictly, so we are constrained,” he said.
Anderson, also known as Belo, was convicted of possession of 50 grammes of heroin in Jakarta in November 2003.
The South Jakarta District Court sentenced him to death in June 2004.
Barring any unforeseen intervention, Anderson and eight others including two Nigerians and two Australians may face firing squad amidst international plea for clemency for the nine convicted persons, now known as the ‘Bali Nine’ in reference to the exotic Indonesian Island where the drug syndicate was busted at the airport and a hotel after a tip-off from Australian Police.
The BBC reported that it was not clear when the executions would take place, but the authorities must legally give the convicts 72 hours notice.
The first step of their execution was their transfer to Nusakambangan, the high-security prison island where Indonesia carries out executions.
Indonesia has some of the most draconian drug laws in the world and ended a four-year freeze of executions in 2013.
Currently, Ghana has no consular representation in Indonesia—a situation that means that Anderson has never been visited by any Ghanaian official since his incarceration, according to an Amnesty International Report.
But the Deputy Minister said Ghana’s High Commissioner in Malaysia which informed the ministry about the unfolding events in Malaysia was trying it best to get in touch with Anderson to see what could be done at this dire moment.
He, however, said there were doubts about Belo being a Ghanaian name, although he would not state which country the convict could be from.
The other candidates who could also share the fate of Anderson are Silvester Obiekwe (Nigerian), Raheem Agbaje Salami (Nigerian), Zainal Abidin (Indonesian), Serge Areski Atlaoui (French), Rodrigo Gularte (Brazilian), Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso (Filipino), Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran (Australia).
Chan and Sukumaran although claiming to be changed men now were believed to be the ringleaders.
The events in Indonesia are already sparking diplomatic rows.
Apart from Australia which is leading the crusade against the executions, France and Brazil have also joined the protest.
France has reportedly summoned the Indonesian envoy and Brazil’s president refused to accept the credentials of the new Indonesian ambassador.
Last month, Indonesia executed six people, five of whom were foreigners, for drug offences.
The Netherlands and Brazil, whose citizens were executed, recalled their ambassadors to Indonesia in response, saying this severely affected diplomatic relations.