Brazilian denied last rites before Indonesia execution

A Brazilian man executed by firing squad in Indonesia was denied the chance to have Catholic last rites before his death.

Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira, 53, was executed on January 18 at on Nusakambangan, Indonesia’s execution island

Moreira was sentenced to death in 2004 after attempting to smuggle 13.4 kilograms of cocaine into Indonesia.

The only religious ministers available to counsel him immediately before his death were Buddhist, Muslim and Protestant.

A Catholic priest was refused access.

The Protestant minister offered Moreira counselling before the execution, but the prisoner reportedly didn’t see him.

On the day before the execution, Oblate Fr Charles Burrows asked a prison official about administering last rites to Moreira.

“I maintained that a Catholic has the right to receive the Penance, Anointing of the Sick and Viaticum Sacraments before he is executed, and this is very important for a Catholic who will leave this world,” Fr Burrows told

The official apologised, but said only the district court could appoint religious counsellors and there were already Buddhist, Muslim and Protestant ones available.

Fr Burrows, who had counselled Moreira in another prison, was not allowed access in what media called an administrative mix-up.

The priest said that he later heard from other prisoners that Moreira wept when he was taken from his cell for execution.

“Marco said, ‘Help me! Help me!’ He even defecated in his trousers because he was so scared,” Fr Burrows said.

“It was only his aunt who came to accompany him. He was very upset.”

Indonesian bishops’ conference spokesman Fr Paulus Siswantoko said Moreira experienced a human rights violation in the last moments of his life.

“It’s very concerning that the state couldn’t provide [religious counselling],” he said.

Saying that the Catholic Church will always fight against the death penalty for anyone and for any reason, he said the state must also protect convicts on death row.

Five other drug smugglers were executed in Indonesia last month.

The executions of several more are planned.

Last week, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff refused to accept the credentials of the Indonesian ambassador to demonstrate her anger at Moreira’s execution.


News category: World.

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