SYDNEY/JAKARTA (Reuters) – Australia’s foreign minister appealed to Indonesia’s president on Wednesday to show mercy for two Australian drug traffickers due to be executed in Indonesia, expressing disappointment that their latest legal appeal had been rejected.
President Joko Widodo has denied clemency to 11 convicts on death row, including the Australian nationals, ratcheting up diplomatic tensions amid repeated pleas for mercy.
Indonesia’s attorney general said on Wednesday the executions, to be carried out by firing squads, would not be delayed or cancelled in the face of diplomatic pressure, but declined to specify a date.
“No matter how much pressure we face, we will keep going. I have said previously, this is about enforcing the law consistently,” Attorney General HM Prasetyo told reporters.
About 90 per cent of the preparations for the executions were completed, he said. Officials just needed to coordinate the prisoner transfers and prepare the firing squads, Prasetyo said, adding that the executions would be carried out as soon as possible.
Widodo, who took calls from Brazil, France, and the Netherlands this week – who have nationals on death row in Indonesia – has warned these nations against interfering in Indonesia’s sovereign affairs.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told Sky News Australia respects Indonesia’s sovereignty and legal system.
“What we are asking is that President Widodo show mercy to these two young Australians,” she said. “He is a generous and forgiving man.”
Indonesia has harsh penalties for drug trafficking and resumed executions in 2013 after a five-year gap.
On Tuesday, a court in Jakarta threw out an appeal by the two Australians, Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31, against Widodo’s rejection of their request for presidential clemency.
Lawyers for the members of the so-called Bali Nine group of Australians, convicted in 2005 as the ringleaders of a plot to smuggle heroin out of Indonesia, have said they plan to appeal. They have two weeks to file an appeal.
The Australian government has stressed that Sukumaran and Chan have been rehabilitated in prison, where they mentor younger inmates.
“They are making a contribution to the Indonesian prison system and in fact the story of their rehabilitation is something of which Indonesia can be proud,” Bishop said.
“We believe their lives should be spared and they should be given a second chance.”
Bishop has previously said Australia would consider recalling its ambassador to Indonesia in protest if the executions are carried out.
Brazil and the Netherlands have already withdrawn their ambassadors after Indonesia executed their citizens on drug offences last month.