• Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso joins female inmates celebrating Kartini Day in Indonesia (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Mary Jane Veloso was in line to be executed for smuggling 2.6 kilograms of heroin into Indonesia but was granted a temporary reprieve at the eleventh hour and remains incarcerated. One year on, she partakes in Indonesia's women's rights day with other inmates in a fashion show celebrating traditional dress.
By
Bianca Soldani

25 Apr 2016 - 2:49 PM  UPDATED 25 Apr 2016 - 1:56 PM

Nearly one year on from her date with death, Mary Jane Veloso is smiling and dancing as she takes part in Kartini Day celebrations commemorating women’s rights in Indonesia.

The Filipina mother of two was due to face execution alongside the Bali Nine group of Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran on April 29 last year, but was saved just minutes before shots rang out from the firing squad.

She is currently being held on drug trafficking charges in Wirogunan jail in Yogyakarta, and was able to join over 100 of her fellow female inmates on the weekend in marking an important national holiday, Kartini Day.

Flashing a peace sign while dressed in a kebaya – a traditional blouse dress that serves as the country’s national costume for women – Ms Veloso looked to be in high spirits as she took part in a fashion show and singing competition.

Kartini Day festivities honour the 1879 birth of Raden Ajeng Kartini, a celebrated national figure who is widely recognised as the country’s first feminist for her work establishing a school for girls and striving for women’s emancipation during the era of Dutch colonisation.

The holiday is somewhat of a controversial one, however, as some argue it has been reduced to a parade of kebaya fashion shows, cooking and singing competitions that place emphasis on traditional traits of domestic femininity rather than issues of gender equality.

Ms Veloso was arrested at Java's Adisucipto International Airport in April 2010 after she was caught entering the country from Malaysia with 2.6 kilograms of heroin.

She has stringently maintained that she had been coming to Indonesia to pursue work as a maid and was tricked into carrying luggage lined with the substance by an international human trafficking and drug group.

One of nine convicted drug smugglers set for execution last year, she was granted a reprieve at the eleventh hour after the woman accused of recruiting her handed herself into police in the Philippines.

It followed pleas made by President of the Philippines Benigno Aquino to spare her life during an emergency meeting with Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

The reprieve is a temporary one and does not ensure that Ms Veloso will not be executed in future.