The Indonesian authorities have directed the spiritual advisers and families of inmates on death row to prepare for executions tonight as coffins were ferried to the prison island of Nusa Kambangan this morning.
Fourteen prisoners, including the inmates from Nigeria, Pakistan, India and South Africa, and four Indonesians, on death row have been moved to isolation holding cells on Nusa Kambangan. All were found guilty of drugs offences, reports the Guardian.
Earlier, the name tags were issued to the family members, government officials and spiritual advisers to specify their relationship to the inmates, an indication that executions were imminent.
Human rights groups have criticized this practice and argued that many of the cases of prisoners on death row in Indonesia are marked by questionable and inhumane practices, including beatings, torture and forced confessions. The embassy of Pakistan has stepped up diplomatic efforts over recent days to stop the execution of Zulfiqar Ali, while Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted that “last-minute efforts” were also underway to save Indian national Gurdip Singh.
A vigil has been planned in Jakarta on Thursday evening, where 1,000 candles will be lit in front of the state palace in peaceful protest. Indonesia resumed executions in 2013, ending a four-year unofficial moratorium on the death penalty. In face of strong international criticism, Indonesian President Joko Widodo has defended the use of capital punishment, arguing the country is facing a drug emergency.
Last year, the execution of two Australian men, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, and six others by Indonesia drew global condemnation. According to Amnesty International, at least 165 people are on death row in Indonesia and more than 40 percent of those for drug-related crimes. Executions for drug-related crimes are in violation of international law.