World

Indonesia gives 72-hour notice to death row inmates, despite international protests

Indonesia notified nine foreigners and a local man convicted of drug trafficking that their executions will be carried out within days, ignoring appeals by the UN chief and foreign leaders to spare them.

Australians Andrew Chan, Myuran Sukumaran among 8 Bali prisoners

Michael Chan and Helen Chan, mother and brother of Andrew Chan, are seen at a press conference on Feb. 9 in Jakarta, Indonesia. (Oscar Siagian/Getty Images)

Indonesia notified nine foreigners and a local man convicted of drug trafficking that their executions will be carried out within days, ignoring appeals by the UN chief and foreign leaders to spare them.

Authorities also asked the four Nigerian men, two Australian men, a Filipino woman, and one man each from Brazil, France and Indonesia for their last wish, the spokesman for the attorney general, Tony Spontana, said Sunday.

He said the legal options of nine of them have been exhausted, while Frenchman Serge Atlaoui still has an outstanding legal complaint over the procedure followed in his request for clemency. Spontana said he expects the Supreme Court to rule on it Monday.

The 72-hour notice indicates the executions by firing squad in Besi prison on Nusakambangan Island will be carried out at the earliest on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Michael Chan, right, brother of Australian death row prisoner Andrew Chan, and Chintu Sukumaran, left, brother of the other Australian death row prisoner Myuran Sukumaran, speak to the media last month before visiting the prison island of Nusakambangan, where the pending executions are expected, in Cilacap, Central Java. (Darren Whiteside/Reuters)

The pending executions have caused an international outcry, particularly in Australia, France and the Philippines, which are opposed to the death penalty.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to "urgently consider declaring a moratorium on capital punishment in Indonesia, with a view toward abolition."

French President Francois Hollande has warned of diplomatic consequences if Atlaoui is executed, and said Saturday that there could be possible economic fallout as well.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, whose government has been pressuring Indonesia to spare the two Australians, arrived on a visit to Paris on Saturday night and was expected to discuss the situation with Hollande.

Australian heroin traffickers Andrew Chan, 31, and Myuran Sukumaran, 33, were the ringleaders of a gang of nine Australians arrested in April 2005, while trying to smuggle more than 8 kilograms of heroin from the resort island of Bali to Sydney.

Filipino woman says she was tricked

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III said Sunday he would again appeal the case of Filipino convict Mary Jane Veloso to Jokowi when they meet at an annual summit of Southeast Asian leaders in Malaysia on Monday.

The Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila issued over the weekend Veloso's handwritten letters from her Indonesian prison where she pleaded to Aquino and other officials to continue efforts to save her. She repeated that she was tricked by a compatriot into carrying illegal drugs in a luggage as she travelled in the hope of landing a job as a house helper.

"Please save my life, I have two children who need the love of their mother," Veloso wrote to Aquino. "We're poor and I wanted to change our life but I could never commit the crime they have accused me of."

Consular officials and relatives were arriving on Sunday at a town near Nusakambangan, the high-security prison island, for the last visit to the convicts.

Indonesia has extremely strict drug laws and often executes smugglers. More than 130 people are on death row, mostly for drug crimes. About a third of them are foreigners.

In January, six convicted drug smugglers, including five from Brazil, the Netherlands, Vietnam, Nigeria and Malawi, were executed at the same prison, prompting the Netherlands and Brazil to recall their ambassadors in protest.

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