Jakarta’s Catholic Archbishop has expressed his concern over Indonesia’s use of the death penalty, adding the treatment of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran was a show of force over humanity.
Following Easter Sunday mass in Jakarta, Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo told reporters the church was strictly against the use of the death penalty.
He said he was saddened by the heavy-handed relocation of Australians Chan and Sukumaran from Kerobokan prison to the island where their execution is being planned.
The operation involved hundreds of balaclava-clad police and Sukhoi fighter jets.
“These men were handcuffed, was it necessary to be guarded by Sukhoi?” the archbishop said.
“For me that’s not strictness, for me that’s very saddening because it’s obvious that power wants to show itself and human dignity is not cherished.” The archbishop said using the death penalty was “a failure of humanity”.
He raised concerns also for Filipina Mary Jane Veloso, 30, who is set to face the firing squad with Chan, 31, and Sukumaran, 33.
Veloso has been denied a judicial review of her heroin smuggling trial, even though she didn’t have a qualified translator, and despite concerns the domestic worker was set up.
“I’m not sure at all that she’s guilty,” Archbishop Ignatius said.
“I don’t know about the evidence in the trial, but what I know that she doesn’t understand English … she knows only Tagalog and when she was on trial, no one translated in that language.
“How could the trial have been fair?”
The Philippines government says it plans to file a second application for a judicial review for the single mother of two.
Meanwhile a court will on Monday decide whether Chan and Sukumaran can challenge the president’s decision to deny them clemency.
Jakarta plans to send 10 drug offenders to the firing squad at once – its biggest ever execution – but is waiting for all to run out of legal options.