Executions loom for Bali drug smugglers

Serge Areski Atlaoui is escorted by armed police commandos following a court hearing last month. Picture: Getty
Serge Areski Atlaoui is escorted by armed police commandos following a court hearing last month. Picture: Getty
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INDONESIA has summoned foreign embassy officials to the prison where nine convicted drug smugglers from overseas and one local man are due to be executed.

Diplomats confirmed they had been told to go to the island prison of Nusakambangan today.

The request suggests that the planned executions, including those of the two Australian ringleaders of the Bali Nine heroin-smuggling gang, are approaching.

That is despite outrage in many of the convicts’ countries of origin.

The prisoners facing execution include people from France, Nigeria and Brazil, as well as the two Australians, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

A tenth death row prisoner, Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso from the Philippines, was being transferred to Nusakambangan prison yesterday.

The executions have been subject to repeated delays and no execution date has yet been set – convicts must be given 72 hours’ notice. “We have been told to be there on Saturday,” an unnamed diplomat said.

“We still don’t know when the actual date of execution will happen, but we expect that it will be in days.”

Indonesia has faced heavy criticism from the countries whose nationals are facing execution.

Australia has mounted a strong diplomatic campaign on behalf of Chan and Sukumaran, while their families have argued they are reformed characters and should be shown mercy.

The pair had clemency appeals rejected by Indonesian president Joko Widodo earlier this year.

President Francois Hollande has warned that the execution of French defendant Serge Areski Atlaoui could damage relations with Indonesia, while Philippines vice-president Jejomar Binay renewed a call for clemency for Veloso, who says she was duped into carrying drugs, at a meeting with his Indonesian counterpart on Thursday.

It is understood the diplomats have been summoned to hear details about procedural aspects of the executions.

Earlier, a spokesman for Indonesia’s attorney general’s office said prosecutors had been told to begin making their preparations for the executions.

Tony Spontana said he hoped the single outstanding judicial case that Jakarta recognises –concerning the sole Indonesian convict – would be resolved “as soon as possible so that we will have a chance to determine the D-Day of the executions”.

Other convicts have filed appeals in the courts, but Indonesian authorities say judicial avenues have been exhausted.

Leonard Arpan, an Indonesian lawyer for the Australian pair, expressed concern over the latest developments. “I am hoping that the Indonesian government will respect the ongoing legal proceedings and not make a decision on executions until these proceedings have finished,” he said.

“We’ve filed the constitutional court challenge for the Bali Nine and we are waiting for a result.”

Mr Arpan said he had spoken to the two Australians – who were sentenced to death in 2006 – earlier in the week.

“They are in good spirits. We understand that their families are on their way to Indonesia,” he said.