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Komnas HAM advocates pardon for death row inmate Mary Jane

Tempo - June 23, 2023

Eka Yudha Saputra, Jakarta – The family members of the death row inmate from the Philippines Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso went to the National Commission for Human Rights (Komnas HAM) in an attempt to obtain a legal recommendation to pardon Mary, who was handed the death row verdict for a drug trafficking charges.

The parents of the inmate and her two sons arrived at the human rights watchdog's headquarters in Central Jakarta on Thursday, June 22.

Komnas HAM chairperson Anis Hidayah said that an official recommendation will be addressed to President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, in hopes to have Mary Jane pardoned.

Anis argued that the inmate was a victim of a human trafficking syndicate and narcotics syndicate and that she cannot be legally punished.

"Lawyers will apply for clemency to the President regarding the Mary Jane case. Komnas HAM will provide a recommendation that this be granted pardon on the strong allegation that she is a victim of human trafficking," Anis said in a press conference at the Komnas HAM headquarters in Central Jakarta.

He also believes Jane is one of the many victims of the illegal practice often victimizing migrant workers.

"As many modus operands that have happened, many migrant workers that were sent overseas are victims of human trafficking and drug syndicates. Just like the case involving Mary Jane and others," he elaborated.

Komnas HAM Indonesia in close coordination with the Philippines authorities.

Anis explained that the fact that Mary Jane was trafficked emerged after Komnas HAM communicated with the Philippine National Commission on Human Rights. According to Anis, the human traffickers who snared the 38-year-old Mary Jane in a drug trafficking scheme are currently undergoing legal proceedings in the Philippines.

"They say the trial was still ongoing, there was no final verdict and we are scheduling a meeting with the Philippine Embassy in Indonesia," Anis explained.

Before meeting with Komnas HAM, Mary Jane's family had visited Jane on June 12-13 at the Class IIB Yogyakarta Women's Prison in Gunung Kidul, Yogyakarta.

Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso was arrested as she landed at Adi Sutjipto Airport, Yogyakarta, in April 2010.

At that time, she had just arrived from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, aboard an Air Asia flight. Customs officers found 2.6 kilograms of heroin tucked into the wall of Mary Jane's suitcase where Mary was then taken away by the police and had to face trial where she denied knowing the contents of the suitcase she was carrying and claimed she was framed by one of her friends, Maria Cristina Sergio, who promised her a job in Malaysia.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1740511/komnas-ham-advocates-pardon-for-death-row-inmate-mary-jan