Pakistani Zulfiqar Ali escapes execution in Indonesia

Pakistani drug convict Zulfiqar Ali escaped execution in the early hours on Friday on Nusakambangan prison island in Cilacap, Central Java, after a comprehensive study of his case, an official said on Friday.

The decision to not execute Ali was made after a thorough study, junior prosecutor for general crimes Noor Rochmad told Antara news agency without giving further details.

The government executed four drug convicts at 1:46 a.m. on Friday, a last-minute change after confirming on Friday that 14 convicts would face the firing squad. No official statement has been issued by the Attorney General’s Office over the change in the number of people executed.

There had been mounting demands for President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to halt the executions, the third round during his presidency, over possible miscarriages of justice.

The government of Pakistan had sought a postponement of Ali’s execution and requested a review of his trial. Pakistani Ambassador Aqil Naseem said the government of Pakistan respected the Indonesian legal system, but believed that the legal process against Ali was flawed. Ali was not provided the opportunity of a fair trial, he said, and pointed out that the prosecutors had sought a life sentence but the judges handed down the death penalty.

Ali, 52, was arrested in 2004 for the possession of 350 grams of heroin and was sentenced to death by the Tangerang District Court in 2005.

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