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Indonesia delays execution of Australian convicts

17 February 2015 9:51

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Indonesia says it has decided to delay the execution of two convicted Australian drug smugglers to allow them more time with their families.

“We are responding to the requests from the Australian government and families,” Indonesia’s Attorney-General H.M. Prasetyo told The Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday, referring to calls by Canberra for a reconsideration in the sentences of the Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

The two Australian nationals were arrested in 2005 and sentenced to death the following year for trying to smuggle heroin out of the Indonesian island of Bali into Australia.

Prasetyo, however, insisted that Jakarta will not yield to pressure over revoking the death sentences of the two and will carry out the executions.

“We want the families to meet with Myuran and Andrew, to give them more time to be with the convicts on death row… This is just to provide the families with more time,” he said.

Prasetyo added that Jakarta has not yet set a date for the executions.

“This is not something easy. This is not something fun but this is what we must do,” he said. “The law states that they have to be executed once clemency has been rejected by the president.”

Abbott’s warning

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Sunday warned Indonesia of a severe diplomatic response if Jakarta executes the two convicted Australians.

“If these executions go ahead, and I hope they don’t, we will certainly be finding ways to make out displeasure felt,” Abbott said.

He added that millions of Australians are “sickened” by the possible execution of the two citizens.

The Australian premier also lashed out at Indonesia for trying to save its own citizens on the death row in other countries while rejecting pleas for clemency for the two Australians from Canberra.

Meanwhile, the families of Chan and Sukumaran have made emotional last-gasp pleas to Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

Back in January, Brazil and the Netherlands recalled their ambassadors in Indonesia after the Southeast Asian country brushed aside their appeals for clemency and executed several of their citizens over drugs offenses.

More than 138 people are on the death row in Indonesia mostly for drug crimes. Drug offenders face harsh punishments, including the death penalty, in the country. About a third of the convicted people are foreigners.

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