Who convinced Indonesian President Widodo to change his mind not to push through with Mary Jane Veloso’s execution? It was Human Rights Watch and Migrant Care Indonesia Executive Director Anis Hidaya according to Indonesian media.
In her tweet before the scheduled execution of the Filipina OFW, Anis pleaded for Mary Jane’s life, “Pak @jokowi, pak Prasetyo, anda tidak lemah jika ijinkan seseorang manusia untuk hidup.Batalkan eksekusi Mary Jane #BiarkanHidup” (Mr. President, Mr. Prasetyo, it is not a sign of weakness if you allow someone to live. Call off the Mary Jane Veloso’s Execution. #LetLive)
According to Anis Hidaya in an interview with a local cable news network and AM station on April 29, she met with the Indonesian President Tuesday afternoon and discussed the case of the Filipina worker on death row. She convinced the President that Mary Jane is a victim of human trafficking and not of drug trafficking. Her case is no different from Indonesian migrant workers abroad who are also facing death penalty for drug trafficking. She stressed that both Indonesian and Filipino migrant workers are vulnerable to drug smuggling syndicates who use them unwittingly as drug couriers.
Anis Hidaya added that she provided the Indonesian President and Ministers about the details of Mary Jane’s case and insisted that Mary Jane has to be protected, not executed. She also tearfully argued, “If we kill the victims and tomorrow or next time we will find new evidence, how can we be responsible for this?” The Philippine government now has the Mary Jane’s recruiter in custody and they are willing to cooperate by pressing charges on the drug smugglers who prey upon innocent migrant workers.
When the President asked Hidaya, “Do you support Mary Jane?” She replied, “Yes, I do.”
On Tuesday a little past midnight, the prison officials slipped out Mary Jane Veloso and her family from the prison island via the back door and brought them back quietly to the main island of Java. Mary Jane was transferred back to a Yogjakarta prison camp.
Radio commentator Karen Davila commended Migrant Care Indonesia Executive Director Anis Hidaya for helping the Filipino nation to ask Indonesian President Widodo to change his mind to at least delay Mary Jane Veloso’s Execution.
Anis was very humble in accepting the outpouring of gratitude from the Philippines and all over the world. She shared this triumph with her group and other non-government organizations who demonstrated endlessly in front of the Presidential Palace in Jakarta They vowed to continue to fight for the life of Mary Jane and for other migrant workers who are facing the same fate. Moreover, her group is also pushing for the abolition of the death penalty in Indonesia.
Filipinos acknowledged Anis Hidaya’s efforts by thanking her on twitter and other social media.