Countdown appears to start for execution of foreigners in Indonesia

2015-04-24 11:27
File: AP

File: AP

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Jakarta - Indonesia has asked foreign embassies to send representatives to a maximum security prison for the expected execution of 10 drug convicts, although an official 72-hour notice of execution has not been given yet, diplomats said on Friday.

Among the convicted drug offenders set to face the firing squad are nationals from Australia, Brazil, France, Nigeria, and the Philippines, and the case has strained relations between the governments of those nations and Indonesia.

"It's true, we have been told to be there on Saturday," said a foreign embassy official who asked not to be identified because she was not authorised to speak to the media.

"We still don't know when the actual date of execution will happen but we expect that it will be in days."

A police spokesperson said orders to prepare the firing squad had not yet come from the Attorney General's Office.

Letter of instruction

The executions will take place on the prison island of Nusakambangan off the Javanese port of Cilacap.

Indonesia's Supreme Court this week rejected the final appeals of a French prisoner and another from Ghana, according to media reports.

Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay also met his Indonesian counterpart, Jusuf Kalla, on the sidelines of a Jakarta conference this week to appeal for mercy on behalf of the Philippine prisoner. He was expected to make a final plea to President Joko Widodo at a ceremony on Friday.

The Filipina, Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso, was transferred to the maximum security prison early on Friday, a diplomat said.

France has also warned Indonesia that the executions could damage ties, while Australia has pleaded repeatedly for clemency for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, two Australians arrested as ringleaders of the so-called Bali Nine drug-smuggling group.

A lawyer for the two Australians said a letter of instruction had been sent from the office of the Indonesian attorney general to those responsible for carrying out the executions. He said it would be "a travesty" if they were executed while legal avenues were still being pursued.

Harsh punishments

"These developments are very concerning," the Melbourne-based lawyer, Michael O'Connell, told Reuters.

"In effect, this letter of instruction is a step towards the execution of the 10 people ... in the near future," he said.

The members of the Bali Nine were arrested at the main airport on the holiday island of Bali for trying to smuggle 8kg of heroin to Australia. The seven other members of the gang, all Australians, have been jailed in Indonesia.

Indonesia has harsh punishments for drug crimes and resumed executions in 2013 after a five-year gap. Six executions have been carried out so far this year.

Read more on:    indonesia  |  executions

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