On July 29 last year, Gurdip Singh was preparing to take his final breath.
He had been anticipating this moment for years – since 2005 – when the Indian truck driver was sentenced to death by firing squad for smuggling 300 grams of heroin into Indonesia. He was one of 14 prisoners on death row preparing to die that night.
The father-of-two thought he had mere minutes left.
“They came, I said ‘let me take a shower first’,” Singh told Jewel Topsfield and Amilia Rosa at Fairfax Media.
“After I was ready, they prayed for me, the officer placed the handcuffs on one of my hands when suddenly the power went out.”
In the darkness, the prison governor walked towards him and whispered in his ear, “Singh, it is cancelled”.
Yes, a power outage at Nusakambangan, Indonesia’s penal island, saved Gurdip Singh’s life.
One year later, Singh is still alive but he has no idea how long his reprieve from the firing squad will last.
He was one of 10 who narrowly escaped the firing squad. The prisoners have never been given a reason why – and more importantly – no official stays of execution have been granted.
For now, he is in limbo.