Indonesia to execute two members of 'Bali Nine' drug trafficking ring

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 02, 2015 4:55 AM

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Two Australian citizens are next in line to be executed for drug offences in Indonesia, the Southeast Asian nation's attorney general said on Monday, in a move likely to strain ties between the neighbors.

Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31, are among eight prisoners due to be executed after President Joko Widodo rejected their clemency pleas last month, in the latest of a string of death sentences for drug offenders, including foreigners.

"We have heard that many Australians support the execution and it is one of the things that pushes us to feel we are not making a mistake," Attorney General H.M. Prasetyo told a news conference in the Indonesian capital.

It was not immediately clear when the executions would take place.

Others on death row include citizens of Brazil, France, Ghana, Indonesia, Nigeria and the Philippines, a spokesman for the attorney general's office said last week.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has sought clemency for the two members of the so-called Bali Nine, who were arrested at Bali's Denpasar airport in 2005 for attempting to smuggle 8 kg (18 lb) of heroin to Australia.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said last month she would not rule out recalling the country's envoy if the executions were to go ahead.

Widodo on Monday reiterated his pledge to pursue Indonesia's hardline approach to drug traffickers.

"I have already conveyed this and it is our ambassadors' job to explain why we have the death penalty," he told reporters.

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Last month, Indonesia executed six prisoners by firing squad for drug offences, including nationals of Brazil, Malawi, the Netherlands, Nigeria and Vietnam.

Brazil and the Netherlands recalled their ambassadors in Indonesia, while Nigeria summoned Indonesia's ambassador in Abuja.

Indonesia has a record of harsh penalties for drug trafficking, resuming executions in 2013 after a five-year gap.

(Reporting by Heru Asprihanto and Jakarta bureau; Writing by Kanupriya Kapoor; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)