Mary Jane Veloso - what happened to save her from execution?
- 30 April 2015
- From the section Asia
Mary Jane Veloso was due to be executed along with eight other prisoners in Indonesia on Tuesday, but was spared at the last minute.
The BBC takes a look at her story and the interventions that led to the Filipino woman's stay of execution.
What did Veloso do to end up on death row?
She was caught in April 2010 at Yogyakarta airport in Indonesia with 2.6kg (5.7lb) of heroin. In October 2010 she was sentenced to death for drug trafficking. All her appeals were rejected.
But Veloso - 30 and a mother of two young children - has always maintained she was tricked. She said she was convinced by Maria Kristina Sergio, the daughter of one of her godparents, to travel to Indonesia to start a new job as a maid.
Veloso claims that Ms Sergio's male friends gave her new clothes and a new bag, which she was unaware had heroin sewn into it.
Ms Sergio has always denied the charges.
In a letter written to Philippine President Benigno Aquino released to the media over the weekend, Veloso said: "We're poor and I wanted to change our life but I could never commit the crime they have accused me of."
How did the Philippine government intervene?
It launched two appeals to Indonesia in the two months leading up to Veloso's execution date.
In its first appeal heard in March, it argued that Veloso did not understand what was going on during her trial - an incompetent translator meant she did not even know she was being sentenced to death, it said. The appeal was rejected.
Indonesia launched its second appeal last week, arguing that Philippine police investigations showed Veloso may have been the victim of a drug syndicate.
But Indonesia dismissed that too, as it only allows one appeal for a judicial review.
Last Friday, she was sent to Nusakambangan prison island, where the executions were scheduled to be carried out.
Veloso's case drew widespread public sympathy in the Philippines, which does not have the death penalty.
Hundreds of activists held vigils outside the Indonesian embassy in Manila, and local media gave Veloso's case prominent coverage.
Her circumstances were familiar to many in the Philippines, where it is common for women to escape poverty by seeking work abroad as domestic helpers.
What happened on the night of the executions?
Veloso was scheduled to die at midnight on Tuesday.
On Monday, Mr Aquino had met President Joko Widodo on the sidelines of a regional meeting in Malaysia to discuss Veloso's case.
Philippine officials said that the next day, Mr Aquino called Indonesia's Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and proposed keeping Veloso alive so that she could testify against drug traffickers.
Then at around 11:00 local time (06:00 BST) on Tuesday, Ms Sergio - the woman accused of duping Veloso - unexpectedly showed up at a police station in Cabanatuan city, north of Manila. She was seeking police protection saying she was receiving death threats.
At the eleventh hour, Indonesia issued a reprieve, saying Veloso was needed to testify against a "perpetrator suspected of human trafficking".
Her execution had seemed so likely that several newspapers in the Philippines went to print on Wednesday with front pages and headlines reporting it had happened.
Ms Sergio was taken to the national police headquarters north of Manila on Wednesday night.
Though no charges have been brought against her, police are investigating allegations of trafficking, illegal recruitment and fraud,
She has also maintained her innocence, saying she was only helping Veloso look for a job.
Is Veloso going to live?
Mary Jane Veloso has since been transferred back to a prison in Yogyakarta, and her legal team plans to launch another appeal to prove she was a victim of human trafficking, according to Indonesian media.
Veloso's family and many in the Philippines continue to celebrate. Activists gathered outside the Indonesian embassy in Manila cheered early on Wednesday morning upon hearing the news, and the hashtag #MaryJaneLives quickly trended on Twitter.
Veloso's mother Celia told reporters: "A miracle has happened to my child."
But Indonesia's President Joko Widodo has insisted: "This is not a cancellation but a postponement."