Filipinos call for clemency for Pinay on death row in Indonesia

NEW YORK CITY – More than a dozen human rights advocates rallied at the Indonesian Consulate General in New York on Wednesday, demanding clemency for a Filipina domestic worker on death row in Indonesia for drug trafficking.

“Death Penalty is an absurd punishment for drug trafficking,” International human rights advocate, John Bergen of Christian Peacemaker Team said. “The last several decades have shown here in the US and around the world that punitive punishments like prison and death penalty don’t stop drug trafficking.”

Mary Jane Veloso, 30, was recruited in 2010 by her god-sister, known as Christine or Christina, for a job in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

She was then arrested at an Indonesian airport and later convicted of drug smuggling.

Veloso claims she was tricked by her god-sister into carrying a luggage containing 2.6 kilograms of heroine worth $500,000.

She was sentenced to death by firing squad under Indonesia’s harsh drug trafficking laws.

Anakbayan New Jersey’s Ruthie Arroyo said, “We are calling for the Indonesian Government to spare the life of Mary Jane because it is not her fault she is innocent, she is just a victim of circumstances.”

While carrying somebody else’s luggage without knowing its content already raises some questions. But advocates say Veloso and 14 others accused of drug trafficking in Indonesia were convicted after unfair trials and without sufficient legal representations.

New YorK Commission on Human Rights Philippines’ (NYCHRP) Lean De Leon said, “She was not provided adequate translation for her case. Therefore, when she was even told about what she was being arrested for or detained for, she didn’t fully understand the consequences.”

Indonesian authorities have rejected requests for judicial reviews despite numerous appeals from the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs to commute Veloso’s sentence from death penalty to life imprisonment.

De Leon said, “Death penalty from firing squad is really archaic, and also inhumane and really cruel punishment for anyone and secondly because the case is not fully resolved… still a lot of questions.”

As Veloso awaits execution in an Indonesian jail, her family in the Philippines is scrambling to make last-ditch efforts to save her.

You may contact Don Tagala at for more information.

3 Comments on this post.

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  • JRB
    9 April 2015 at 9:07 pm - Reply

    It’s sad about this people that waiting execution in Indonesia, but they all knew what they was looking at if caught? Look other country shouldn’t put there nose into Indonesia execution of the 14 people? Every country has there own laws so leave Indonesia alone if they want the execution.

  • SC
    10 April 2015 at 4:01 am - Reply

    There are 64 on death row in Indonesia to be executed. Indonesia interferes in other countries laws when they want to save their own citizens from the death penalty. They paid 2 million dollars to save an Indonesian woman on death row in Saudi Arabia. I say good on them because every country should try and save their citizens. But they shouldn’t be hypocrites. Even the brother of the woman has said that his own country’s government are hypocrites for executing people when they saved his sister. He has asked the president to stop. I have Indonesia friends and I know they want the executions to stop. They must stop.

  • Rizza
    19 April 2015 at 9:28 am - Reply

    This is more a matter of enforcing justice accordingly. The world is now beginning to understand how the pinay worker became a victim of a vicious set up to smuggle drugs – she was tricked.

    If Indonesia will persist on not hearing Veloso’s side, kill her for the sake of “setting an example” and let the real culprits roam free, the world will see whether or not justice was rightly enforced in this country.

    And if so, did it solve their real problem or did it only make the world see Indonesia as a country to fear from because people will be killed here due to a “state of emergency with regard to drug abuse?”