Lawyers' 2nd appeal: Veloso is human trafficking victim | Global News

Lawyers’ 2nd appeal: Veloso is human trafficking victim

By: - Reporter / @JeromeAningINQ
/ 08:11 PM April 23, 2015

MANILA, Philippines – The new counsels sent by the family of Mary Jane Veloso, an overseas Filipino worker facing the death penalty in Indonesia, have met with her Indonesian private lawyers to help prepare a new pleading before the Supreme Court in that country, citing new grounds that could justify the recall of her sentence.

Lawyer Edre Olalia and his team from the National Union of People’s Lawyers talked to their Indonesian counterparts in a meeting on Wednesday and proposed that the second appeal for judicial review should emphasize that Veloso was “primarily a human trafficking victim in the first place, and therefore, must be protected.”


“In accordance with international and parallel local laws, she must not be penalized for any alleged crime which was integral and in connection with such human trafficking scheme, and must instead be repatriated back to the Philippines,” Olalia said in a statement sent from Jakarta.

Olalia flew to the Indonesian capital last Monday together with Veloso’s father Cesar and fellow NUPL member Minnie Lopez.


Olalia said the Filipino-Indonesian team was also awaiting from the Philippine Embassy a copy of an affidavit that would be used as a “newly discovered evidence” to bolster her appeal.

“ The ‘newly discovered evidence’ is the affidavit of Mary Jane that the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency got when they came here in Indonesia last March 29 [and] documented her being a victim of human trafficking,” he said.

The affidavit will be translated by the Philippine Embassy into Bahasa.

Olalia said Veloso’s Indonesian lawyers were “very receptive” to the human trafficking-drug trafficking connection.

He said the legal team would also need an official certification from the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking in Manila that a complaint regarding Veloso has been filed by her family against her supposed recruiter. They would also obtain the additional statements from similar victims, he added.

Olalia explained that the Indonesian Supreme Court’s action on the second judicial review could come as early as one day after filing or as late as six months “theoretically but also based on precedents.”

“And the submission or filing of the second judicial review does not automatically mean a stay or stop of the implementation of Mary Jane’s sentence. Thus, even if the review is submitted on Monday, the implementation can proceed as long as the three-day mandatory advance notice to Mary Jane, prosecutor, family and court is complied with,” he added.


The Indonesian lawyers have also submitted to the prosecutor’s office a list of family members, the two NUPL counsels, and three migrant organization lawyers seeking to be allowed to visit Mary Jane.

Meanwhile, the National Lawyers Guild in the United States called on the Indonesian government to remove Veloso from death row, and grant her rights to due process, a proper trial, and humane treatment.

In her April 21 letter to Indonesian President Joko Widodo, NLG president Azadeh Shahshahani said the Indonesian government “has violated Veloso’s basic human rights such as the right to fair trial and due process as guaranteed under both domestic and international law,” noting that she “was not provided with interpreters during her trial and had no consistent legal representation.”

“Veloso’s case is not a singular, isolated incident, but rather a product of an exploitative economic system purposefully built upon the labor of overseas workers. She did not go abroad with the intention of participating in the international drug trade. Rather, extreme poverty forced her to leave her home in the Philippines and travel to Malaysia and Indonesia for a chance to better provide for her family,” she said. AC

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TAGS: appeal, Azadeh Shahshahani, courts, Crime, Death Penalty, Drug mule, drug trafficking, Edre Olalia, firing squad, Global Nation, Human trafficking, human trafficking victims, Indonesia, Indonesian president, Joko Widodo, Justice, Law, litigation, Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso, Mary Jane Veloso, National Lawyers Guild in the United States, National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, Overseas Filipino workers, Overseas Filipinos, trials
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