Australia

Australia's Bishop appeals to Indonesia over death row pair

Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran at court in Bali (Feb 2006) Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Australians Andrew Chan (L) and Myuran Sukumaran are due to be executed imminently

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has said it would be a "grave injustice" if Indonesia executed two Australians for drug crimes.

In a motion tabled in the Australian parliament, Ms Bishop said Australia would continue to seek clemency for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

The pair, leaders of the "Bali Nine" drug smuggling ring, are next in line to be executed for drug crimes.

Indonesia has said it will not grant clemency to any drug convicts.

Ms Bishop told parliament on Thursday morning that Indonesia should grant Chan and Sukumaran the same treatment it seeks for its own nationals facing the death penalty abroad.

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Media captionAustralian FM Julie Bishop: "We urge the Indonesian government to show the same mercy...that it seeks for its citizens in the same situation abroad"

"I believe it is Indonesia who will lose the most for executing these men," she said.

She said the Australian government acknowledged the seriousness of drug crimes but that Chan and Sukumaran had gone to great lengths to rehabilitate and reform, and "should not need to pay with their lives" for their crimes.

Indonesian Attorney General HM Prasetyo said earlier this month that Chan and Sukumaran would be included in the next group of prisoners to be put to death.

On Thursday afternoon, the head of the Bali prosecutor's office announced that the transfer of the two men ahead of their executions had been approved.

No date has been set for the executions, which are likely to take place on Nusakambangan island, at a high-security prison off central Java.

Ambassadors recalled

Indonesia has some of the toughest drug laws in the world. It ended a four-year moratorium on executions in 2013.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption The family of death row prisoner Andrew Chan have visited him in jail in Bali
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Ravi Sukumaran's mother has also visited him in jail in Bali

Last month, Indonesia executed convicts from Malawi, Nigeria, Vietnam, Brazil and the Netherlands as well as an inmate from Indonesia. It prompted Brazil and the Netherlands to recall their ambassadors in protest.

Australian authorities have threatened to do the same if Chan and Sukumaran are put to death.

Australia opposes the death penalty and has repeatedly campaigned on behalf of the men. They were in a group of nine Australians arrested in Bali in 2005 with more than 8.3kg (18lb) of heroin.

Five successive Australian prime ministers have made representations to Indonesia on their behalf.

Ms Bishop said that since 7 January, 11 written representations had been made by the Australian government. Joint letters have also been sent by the government, the Labor opposition and the Greens Party.

Government ministers, members of parliament and businessmen have all made individual representations to Indonesia, she said.

She noted that Indonesian prisoners in Australia for drug crimes did not face death row, and that the Indonesian government went to great lengths to seek clemency for its own nationals facing the death penalty abroad.

The Jakarta Post reported on Tuesday that Indonesia's Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi had said Indonesia was committed to helping release 229 Indonesian nationals currently on death row in other countries.

According to Ms Bishop, many of them are on drugs charges.

"We are only doing what Indonesia does for its people who face death row in other countries," she told parliament.

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