Bali Nine execution moves ahead



Indonesian officials have been granted permission to transfer two convicted Australian drug smugglers from their prison, to prepare for their execution.

The head of the Bali prosecutor’s office, Momock Bambang Samirso, confirmed he on Wednesday night received permission from the Justice and Human Rights Ministry to transfer Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran out of Kerobokan prison, so they can be taken away for execution.

There will be a meeting on Friday to discuss the logistics and then co-ordinate with other prisons to have the men relocated.

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150,000 sign Bali Nine petition
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Mr Momock said the execution would be done as soon as possible.

He has said the families of the two men will be notified before the transfer goes ahead, giving them the opportunity to visit for the final time.

The ABC understands officials have already been speaking to airport authorities and the national carrier Garuda Indonesia, which has apparently agreed to be involved in flying the two men to where the executions will take place.

The pair is likely to be flown to Yogyakarta and then driven about five hours to Cilacap in Central Java province near Nusakambangan Island, home to a high-security prison.

Indonesian attorney-general Muhammad Prasetyo will make the official announcement that the executions are to go ahead three days beforehand.

The two men, the ringleaders of the so-called Bali Nine group of heroin smugglers, have been denied presidential pardons and are due to face a firing squad this month.

Indonesian president Joko Widodo, who has a policy of denying clemency for all drug offenders, said he had rejected 64 bids for clemency and was not forgiving any drug criminal.

In a show of unity, Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop moved a motion in Parliament, seconded by Opposition counterpart Tanya Plibersek, calling for a stay of execution for the two men on Thursday.

Last month Indonesia executed six people, including five foreigners, for drug offences.

Pleas dismissed

In an emotional speech to federal parliament on Thursday, Ms Bishop said the Sydney pair’s attempt to smuggle more than 8kg of heroin out of Indonesia in 2005 was a grave crime that deserved punishment.

But they didn’t deserve to pay with their lives.


Tanya Plibersek makes an emotional speech in Parliament. Photo: AAP

“Both men are deeply, sincerely remorseful for their actions,” the Foreign Minister said.

“Both men have made extraordinary efforts to rehabilitate.”

Opposition Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Ms Plibersek followed with an equally powerful argument against the pair’s executions.

She reflected on her husband Michael Coutts-Trotter’s drug conviction in Australia 30 years ago, and what a loss it would have been if he was punished with death.

“They would have missed out on a man who spent the rest of his life making amends for the crime that he committed,” she said.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said she had received letters from both women, and phone calls from the minister.

Her replies were clear and consistent, she said.

“I have told Julie that this is not against a country, this is not against nationals of a certain country, but this is against a crime, against an extraordinary crime,” she told reporters in Jakarta.

“We will keep on communicating, explaining, in consistent language like that.”

While Indonesia and Australia keep trading views on the death penalty to no effect for Mr Chan and Mr Sukumaran, their families continue visiting their prison daily.

Artist Ben Quilty and Victorian Supreme Court Judge Lex Lasry joined them on Thursday.

Only President Joko Widodo can save the men from execution, but he gave a defiant vow this week not to succumb to outside pressure on the death penalty for drug felons.

In her statement, Ms Bishop said besides more than 55 ministerial and prime ministerial representations for the men, high-profile Australians had made “discreet overtures to their influential Indonesian contacts”.

150,000 sign petition

Meanwhile, thousands of people have added their names to a campaign to save Mr Chan and Mr Sukumaran from an Indonesian firing squad.


Andrew Chan’s brother Michael and mother Helen, plead with the Indonesian government to grant clemency. Photo: AAP

More than 150,000 people had signed the Mercy Campaign petition begging Indonesia to spare the lives of the pair as of Thursday – an increase of more than 130,000 signatures in less than a month.

Lawyer and campaign co-founder Matthew Goldberg urged more people to sign the petition asking for mercy.

“The campaign isn’t coming to an end. We are pressing on for more support, more numbers and more commitment to the movement for mercy,” he said.

Mr Goldberg said plans were being made to present the petition to Indonesian authorities.

with AAP and ABC

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