Last stop for Aussie drug traffickers
FOR some, a trip to this place comes with a one-way ticket.
Nusakambangan island, located off the Cilacap coast in central Java, has an air of gentle tranquillity that belies a deeper, disturbing sense of finality.
The locals call it Execution Island and it is where drug traffickers Andrew Chan, 31, and Myuran Sukumaran, 33, will face the firing squad.
It is also where Bali bombers Imam Samudra, 38, Amrozi, 47, and Mukhlas, 48, were executed in November 2008.
Chan and Sukumaran, both Australians, are part of what is now called the Bali Nine, a group of drug dealers and drug mules caught in April 2005.
Their appeals for clemency against the death penalty have been rejected.
Yesterday, Indonesian Deputy Foreign Minister Abdurrahman Mohammad Fachir said that the government had rejected Australia's last-ditch proposal of a prisoner swop to save the lives of the two men, reported Indonesia's MetroTV.
The case has seriously strained diplomatic ties between Indonesia and Australia.
But if you are in a jail cell on that island, that would be the least of your concerns.
The sprawling jail complex houses more than 1,500 inmates, including those found guilty of drug trafficking and terrorism.
But it is most notorious for its execution sites, the Nirbaya and Li-musbuntu shooting fields, where inmates are put to death by 12-man firing squads, reported ABC News.
According to The Jakarta Post, there are seven heavily guarded jails divided into separate blocks and with high walls and fences.
The jails are spread about 4km apart across the island, which is 30km long and about 7km wide.
The island is also home to about 3,000 locals, and its beaches and natural caves are open to tourists.
In an interview with The Jakarta Post, a former executioner insisted that in all three executions he oversaw, the firing squad never missed.
"All the convicts died within a minute.
"Firing squad personnel are all well-trained. They have to be mentally fit for the job," he said.
According to him, at the time of the execution, the blindfolded convict is escorted by police to the execution field, which is a restricted area, the newspaper reported.
The former officer said that in most cases, the convict would be given the option of sitting, standing or kneeling when facing the firing squad.
"I do not recall many emotional outcries from the convicts during their isolation period. Some cried and asked for religious counsel for final prayers, but most of them waited quietly, as if they were resigned to their fate," he said.
According to the law, the firing squad should simultaneously shoot the convict, focusing on the heart, The Jakarta Post reported.
If the convict does not die instantly, the officer in charge can order a member of the firing squad to shoot the convict in the head, right above the ear.
Fourteen personnel from the police Mobile Brigade (Brimob) are assigned to an execution, but only 12 will do the shooting while the others will be on standby, reported The Jakarta Post.
Brimob chief Robby Kaligis said police officers in their early 20s were usually selected as they are more fit physically and mentally.
The brigadier-general said they are given extra training to sharpen their shooting skills.
"The shooting is actually the easiest part. It's much harder to ensure that they are mentally prepared," he said.
THE NEW PAPER