Australia wants stay of execution for drugs pair

Family members of some of the drug traffickers to be executed outside prison. Picture: Getty
Family members of some of the drug traffickers to be executed outside prison. Picture: Getty
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AUSTRALIA wants corruption allegations against Indonesian judges investigated before their death sentences against two Australian drug traffickers are carried out, the foreign minister said yesterday.

The Australians, Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31, are among ten drug traffickers given 72-hour notices over the weekend that they will be executed by firing squad.

Indonesian authorities say the Australians have exhausted all avenues of appeal. But foreign minister Julie Bishop argued that the men should not be executed while they have an unresolved case before Indonesia’s Constitutional Court and while Indonesia’s Judicial Commission investigates claims of corruption in the pair’s original trial.

Sukumaran and Chan’s original Indonesian lawyer, Muhammad Rifan, said trial judges originally asked for a 1 million rupiah ($77,000) bribe to pass sentences of less than 20 years. Mr Rifan alleged the deal fell through after the judges later said they had been ordered by senior legal and government figures to impose the death penalty.

Mr Rifan said the judges then “started asking for a lot more money” to provide a lesser sentence, but the pair had no more.

The pair were sentenced to death in February 2006 for their leading roles in an Australian smuggling group dubbed the Bali Nine. They were arrested in 2005 after a tip-off from Australian police as they tried to smuggle more than 18lb of ­heroin from Bali to Sydney.

Sukumaran and Chan have provided sworn statements to the Judicial Commission, which safeguards the probity of judges.

Foreign minister Ms Bishop contacted Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi on Sunday night in a bid to prevent the executions. She said the Australians should not be killed while two legal cases were outstanding.

“There have been some allegations made in relation to the trial and I said Australia, ­indeed, the international community, would expect those legal processes to be concluded before any other action was taken,” Ms Bishop said in Sydney yesterday of her conversation with Mr Marsudi. “I would anticipate they would need to hear evidence from Mr Chan and Mr Sukumaran, and therefore, my request these proceedings be allowed to continue and that there be a stay of execution.”

Australian prime minister Tony Abbott also continued to lobby Indonesia yesterday. .

Authorities on Sunday asked the two Australians, the four 
Nigerian men, a Filipino woman, and one man each from Brazil, France and Indonesia for their last wish.