Asia

'Bali Nine' pair to 'face death penalty together'

Kerobokan jail in Bali Image copyright AFP
Image caption Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan are being held at Bali's Kerobokan jail

Two Australian men convicted in Indonesia over the "Bali Nine" drugs case will be executed at the same time, an Indonesian official said.

Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan would be executed together because they had committed their crime at the same time, Attorney General MS Prasetyo said.

Sukumaran's appeal for clemency was rejected last week. Chan is still waiting for a response to his appeal.

Indonesia's use of the death penalty in drugs cases has been widely criticised.

Australia opposes the death penalty and its government has said it will continue to campaign for its citizens who are facing execution abroad.

Rights group Amnesty International has urged the Indonesian government to halt executions immediately, and eventually abolish the death penalty.

Indonesia has some of the world's toughest drug laws. The country resumed executions in 2013 after an unofficial four-year moratorium.

No executions were carried out in 2014. However, President Joko Widodo has said he will not grant clemency to anyone on death row who was convicted of drugs offences.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Australian PM Tony Abbott, seen here with Indonesian PM Joko Widodo, has said his government will continue to appeal for Australians facing the death penalty abroad

Six people are due to be executed this Sunday, Mr Prasetyo said. Five of the six have foreign citizenship. The executions will mark the first use of the death penalty since Mr Widodo took office in October.

No date has been set for the execution of Sukumaran and Chan, and Chan has yet to receive a response from the Indonesian president to his appeal for a pardon.

Mr Prasetyo told reporters that the men would have their sentences carried out simultaneously.

"When a crime is committed by more than one person, the execution must be conducted at the same time," he said. "So Myuran will wait for his turn."

Sukumaran, from Sydney, was one of nine Australians arrested in Bali in April 2005 with more than 8.3kg (18lb) of heroin.

He and Chan were named as ring leaders of the group and sentenced to death in 2006.

The eight men and one woman of the Bali Nine were aged between 18 and 28 at the time of their arrests.

Following various appeals, the other seven are now serving either life or 20 years in prison.

Executions are carried out by firing squad in Indonesia.

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