Eight prisoners in Indonesia reformed by Christianity sang and prayed as they walked to their executions Wednesday morning, witnesses said.
The eight prisoners included two Australians (Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan); four Africans (Raheem Agbaje Salami, Sylvester Obiekwe Nwolise, Okwudili Oyatanze, and Martin Anderson); and one each from Brazil (Rodrigo Gularte); and Indonesia (Zainal Abidin bin Mgs Mahmud Badarudin), who were convicted of drug trafficking in Indonesia, a country with harsh penalties for smuggling, including life in prison and the death penalty.
"When they were being put on the cross for execution, they were singing on the crosses and we were in a tent not too far away from the execution place trying to support them," Father Charlie Burrows told News Corp Australia more >>
As many as 300 slaves were rescued on Good Friday from an isolated island in Indonesia, where they were forced to work as fisherman and catch seafood that was eventually sold in supermarkets in the United States.
An investigation by the Associated Press revealed that many of the migrant workers, who eventually wound up on the Indonesian island of Benjina and were duped into working 20 to 22 hours a day in unpaid slave labor, were tricked into going to that particular island.
With many of the migrant workers coming from Burma, also known as Myanmar, in search of job opportunities, many of them were told that they would be offered good-paying jobs in Thailand. Instead, they were fooled into hopping on a boat, which took them thousands of miles from their homes and dumped them on the island with no way to return home. They were then forced to catch fish without pay for the Pusaka Benjina Resources fishing company. The fish they catch are then sent back to Thailand and shipped to supply chains. more >>
Two Australian men, members of the infamous Bali Nine, have been transferred to a prison in Indonesia, pending their execution.
Australians Andrew Chan, 31, and Myuran Sukumuran, 33, ringleaders of the notorious Bali Nine, who were convicted for smuggling heroin in the Indonesian island province in 2005, have been transported to Nusa Kambangan prison off Indonesia's main island of Java to face execution by firing squad.
Despite pleas for amnesty from the Australian government and the international community, the convicted drug smugglers, together with five other drug traffickers from Brazil, France, Ghana, Indonesia, Nigeria, and the Philippines are due to face a firing squad. Tony Spontana, the Attorney General Office's spokesman, gave no exact date for the execution. more >>
The important black box flight data recorder was retrieved by Indonesian divers in the Java Sea on Monday, along with the tail section of the plane that disappeared on Dec. 28. A search official said that the plane likely exploded after it hit the water, killing all 162 people on board.
"On initial inspection of the debris and the tail of the plane, we believe that the explosion would have occurred because of the cabin being pressurized, and the inability to adjust the pressure would have caused (a) boom sound," said National Search and Rescue Agency Operations Coordinator Suryadi Bambang Supriyadi, according to CBS News.
Flight QZ8501 disappeared from radars on Dec. 28 while flying from Indonesia to Singapore, with debris and bodies being discovered two days later. more >>
Over 2,500 people gathered at Surabaya's Mawar Sharon Christian megachurch on Sunday to pray for the missing 41 church members who were on board the AirAsia QZ8501 flight, hoping for their return despite any signs that there could have been survivors in the fatal crash last week.
"Obviously in this situation, for people who believe in God, it is very easy to blame [and ask] why is all this so unfair," said Pastor Caleb Natanielliem. "As a pastor, I know that we are a family and we need to stand together."
The church members were traveling along with 121 other people on board the AirAsia flight on Dec. 28 from Indonesia to Singapore, when air traffic control lost contact with the flight. Two days later, debris from the plane and bodies were discovered in the Java Sea, leading search authorities to confirm that the flight had crashed. more >>
Forty-one passengers of AirAsia Fight QZ8501, which crashed on Sunday with 162 people on board, were reportedly members of a single church in Indonesia, reports have said. The search for the bodies of the victims in the Java Sea meanwhile continues around much grief and tragedy.
The Straits Times reported on Thursday that the 41 Christians were members of the Mawar Sharon Church of Surabaya, part of one of the largest megachurches in the region, with 30,000 members.
A pastor at the church, Philip Mantofa, said that he was shocked to learn of the big loss to his parish. He urged relatives of the victims not to allow the tragedy to shake their faith. more >>