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Convicts kept in dark for hours on Indonesia execution reprieve

Ten drug convicts, including an Indian, spared during a chaotic execution in Indonesia were only officially informed they would not be shot hours after they had expected to face the firing squad, a lawyer said on Wednesday.

Despite international protests, one Indonesian and three Nigerian convicts were put to death shortly after midnight Friday on a prison island -- Jakarta’s first round of executions for over a year.

But another 10 death row prisoners, including Indonesians as well as nationals from Pakistan, India, Zimbabwe and Nigeria, were not executed, although authorities have suggested they will face the firing squad at a later date.

It is still not clear why the group were pulled from the latest round and the process has attracted strong condemnation, with one lawyer calling it a “complete mess”.

Authorities have not given a clear explanation but theories have ranged from concerns over legal problems with several cases to a major storm that hit the island as officials were about to carry out the sentences.

Adding to the sense of chaos, a lawyer for one of the 10 said they were not officially informed their executions were being halted until around 6:00 am on Friday (2300 GMT Thursday) -- about five hours after the executions took place, and four hours after authorities had announced it to the media. 

Lawyer Arinta Singgih -- who represented one of the group, Indonesian woman Merri Utami -- said that as the hours passed, the group suspected they had been spared, but it was not clear for some time.
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