Indonesia to execute Australian drug smugglers

Two convicted Australian drug smugglers arrived at an Indonesian island prison where they will be executed by firing squad along with seven other foreigners amid a diplomatic squabble with some of their governments. 

An Indonesian is also scheduled to be executed.

The preparations at the execution site at Nusakambangan Island’s maximum-security prison facilities have been completed, said Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo. But authorities have not given a date for the executions, although they appear imminent.

Besides the two Australians, a Nigerian national born in Spain and a Filipino woman were also to be transferred to the island prison off Indonesia’s main island of Java. In addition, two other Nigerians and four men from Brazil, France, Ghana and Indonesia are also scheduled to be executed. It was not immediately known how many have been transferred to the island.

The planned executions have soured of relations between Indonesia and other countries involved, especially Australia and Brazil. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo received phone calls from some foreign leaders asking that the executions be cancelled, but has rejected their requests.

He has vowed not to grant mercy to drug offenders because Indonesia is suffering a “drug emergency.”

Australia has repeatedly pleaded for clemency for its two citizens, Andrew Chan, 31, and Myuran Sukumaran, 33, arrested in April 2005 while trying to smuggle more than 8kg of heroin from Bali to Australia.

Chan and Sukumaran were removed from the Kerobokan Penitentiary on Bali island — where they have spent the last decade — in two police armoured vehicles in a pre-dawn operation involving scores of riot police.

They were taken to Nusakambangan Island by flight and then a boat. Australian media camped there reported their arrival.

Prison authorities had earlier turned away Chan’s older brother, Michael Chan, who attempted a visit.

Prison governor Sudjonggo, who goes by a single name, told reporters Chan and Sukumaran did not appear worried as they left the prison. Sukumaran took several pencils in a plastic bag, clothes, a bible and a drawing book, he said.

The Indonesian government last week recalled its newly designated ambassador to Brazil, Toto Riyanto, to protest the postponement of the approval of his credentials by Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff amid tensions over the imminent execution of its citizen, Rodrigo Gularte, 42.

The Spain-born Nigerian, Raheem Agbaje Salami, 45, and 30-year-old Filipino Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso have also been convicted of drug smuggling.


Lifestyle

Meet Tony the Turtle.How to explain Covid-19 to kids on the spectrum

More From The Irish Examiner