Here are the photos and profiles of the 4 Nigerians who are to be executed in Indonesia for drug trafficking.
Martin Anderso: 50 year old
Martin Anderson (above) was arrested in Jakarta in 2003 on a charge of
possessing about 1.8 ounces of heroin and was accused of being part of a
local drug ring. He had traveled to Indonesia on a fake Ghanaian
passport and has been incorrectly identified as Ghanaian. He was
sentenced to death in 2004. According to his lawyer, Kusmanto, who like
many Indonesians uses one name, Mr. Anderson was shot in the leg
during his arrest — a method the Indonesian police are sometimes known
to use when apprehending a suspect — and remains bothered by the wound
to this day.
He has been in poor spirits since
being transferred to Nusakambangan Island for execution, Mr. Kusmanto
said. Mr. Anderson has filed for a judicial review of his conviction
and death sentence with the Supreme Court, but his lawyer said he
feared the court would not consider the appeal until after he is
executed. Such appeals can take six months to be heard, Mr. Kusmanto
said. “Obviously we hope it’s sooner.”
Silvester Obiekwe Nwolise, 47, Nigeria – Smuggling Heroin
wife tells it, is similar to those of other Nigerians on Indonesia’s
death row for drug trafficking. Unemployed in Lagos, Nigeria’s largest
city, he was lured to Pakistan by fellow Nigerians on the promise of a
job with good wages.
But once in Pakistan, instead of a job, he got
an offer to swallow some capsules – filled with goat horn powder, his
wife, Fatimah Farwin, says he was told – and fly to Indonesia.
“They said they didn’t want to pay tax on it,” Ms. Fatimah said. “When
he arrived at the airport in Jakarta, the police saw him – I don’t know
how – they caught him and X-rayed him, and they found it and it was
Arrested in 2001, Mr. Nwolise was convicted the following year of
bringing 2.6 pounds of heroin into the country, and was sentenced to
During his trial, according to Ms Fatimah, Mr. Nwolise had
no translator, and his Indonesian lawyer could barely communicate with
him. She said that a judge, through an intermediary, offered to
sentence him to prison rather than death if he paid a bribe of 200
million rupiah, worth about $22,000 at the time.
“But he was just a poor courier. He didn’t have any money,” Ms. Fatimah said.
Ms. Fatimah, who is Indonesian, met Mr. Nwolise in prison in 2007,
when she was accompanying a friend who was visiting another inmate. The
two married later that year; they have since had two children, now 5
and 3, but she has not brought them to see him since they were infants.
She has told them that their father is working in an office in another
In January, the Indonesian police accused Mr. Nwolise of running a
drug syndicate from prison. No charges were brought, but Ms. Fatimah,
who says emphatically that her husband is innocent of the accusation,
believes it resulted in his being placed in the group of inmates now
facing imminent execution.
“Some woman on the outside blamed him,” Ms. Fatimah said,
referring to a police informant, “but when they came to his cell, they
never found anything – never, never, never. He never had a trial and
next thing, they wanted to execute him.”
Jamiu Owolabi Abashin, 50, Nigeria – Smuggling Heroin
streets of Bangkok in 1998 when a fellow African living there took pity
on him and brought him home. Shortly thereafter, according to Mr.
Abashin, his new friend asked whether he wanted a quick-paying job, in
which he would get $400 for bringing a package of clothing to the
friend’s wife in Surabaya, Indonesia, where she sold used shirts and
Mr. Abashin readily agreed, but soon wished he hadn’t: The
package contained nearly 12 pounds of heroin, and he was arrested after
landing at Surabaya’s airport. Mr. Abashin, who was traveling on a
false Spanish passport, contended he was duped.
He was convicted in 1999 and sentenced to life in prison, which was
reduced to 20 years on appeal. State prosecutors challenged the
sentence reduction before the Indonesian Supreme Court, which in 2006
sentenced Mr. Abashin to death.
In a request for presidential clemency in 2008, he admitted knowingly smuggling the drugs. The request was denied in January.
The Indonesian government refers to him as Raheem Agbaje Salami,
the name on the fake Spanish passport he was using when he was
Ursa Supit, an Indonesian legal activist who is
advocating on Mr. Abashin’s behalf, says that because he had no money,
he was assigned a state lawyer for his trial and had no legal counsel
when he appealed to the Supreme Court.
Mr. Abashin, who now has a lawyer, is challenging Mr. Joko’s rejection of his clemency request.
“He has been inside now for 17 years, and he has never broken a rule
inside,” Ms. Supit said. “And now they are going to execute him. He’s
never had money for lawyers. It’s not fair.”
Okwudili Oyatanze, 41, Nigeria – Smuggling heroin
typical Sunday religious service at a small church. A young African
man, accompanied by an Asian guitarist, sings a heartfelt gospel song
as the audience sings along. But the camera does not show the security
guards, iron bars and barbed wire fences that would have indicated this
was no ordinary place. The singer, Okwudili Oyatanze, was giving his
regular performance at a penitentiary outside the Indonesian capital,
Known in Indonesia’s penal system as “The Death Row Gospel Singer,”
Mr. Oyatanze, 41, was arrested in 2001 while trying to smuggle 5.5
pounds of heroin through Jakarta’s international airport, in his
stomach, after arriving on a flight from Pakistan. He was convicted the
following year and sentenced to death.
Mr. Oyatanze has made the most of his incarceration, writing more
than 70 songs and recording multiple albums behind bars. He has
performed with prison guards as well as fellow inmates.
video, shot in 2008, Mr. Oyatanze sang his song “God You Know,” which
was also the name of an album he released that year.
“He has turned
his life around in jail,” said the Rev. Charles Burrows, a Catholic
priest from Ireland who now lives in Indonesia and is offering
religious counseling to Mr. Oyatanze as he awaits his execution.
Raised in outheastern Nigeria, Mr. Oyatanze started a garment
business in 1999, traveling to Indonesia to buy clothing and resell it
in Nigeria. The business collapsed, and Mr. Oyatanze, heavily in debt,
traveled to Pakistan to try to revive it, at the suggestion of a fellow
Nigerian living there.
The plan involved swallowing capsules of
heroin before boarding a flight to Jakarta. “There was a chance to earn
some easy money, so he became a courier,” Mr. Burrows said.