Australia lobbies Indonesia to save 2 death row prisoners

AP News
Posted: Feb 09, 2015 5:48 PM

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia continued to make high-level appeals to Indonesia to spare the lives of two Australian drug traffickers on death row despite the Indonesian president rejecting their requests for clemency, the foreign minister said on Tuesday.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Prime Minister Tony Abbott was also appealing to Indonesian President Joko Widodo to save Australians Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31.

"We are doing all we can. We're making representations, privately and publicly, to stay the executions," Bishop told Nine Network television on Tuesday.

"And we will not give up. We continue to do that on a daily basis," she added.

Bishop said she had spoken on Monday night to the pair's devastated families who were in Indonesia pleading for their lives. The prisoners are being held in Kerobokan Penitentiary on the tourist island of Bali.

Sukumaran and Chan learned last week that their applications for judicial reviews of their death sentences have been rejected.

Australia has abolished capital punishment and opposes executions of any Australian overseas.

Abbott will not say whether he will recall Australia's ambassador from Jakarta if the executions go ahead.

Indonesia said last week it was preparing to execute by firing squad eight drug smugglers, including the two Australians. The pair were the ringleaders of a group of nine Australians who were arrested in 2005 for attempting to smuggle 8.3 kilograms (18.3 pounds) of heroin to Australia from Bali.

The group has been dubbed the "Bali Nine" by Australian media. All have been convicted of drug smuggling but only two were sentenced to death.

Indonesia has extremely strict drug laws. On Jan. 18, it executed six drug convicts including foreigners from Brazil, Malawi, Nigeria, the Netherlands and Vietnam, brushing aside last-minute appeals by foreign leaders.

More than 130 people are on death row, including 57 drug convicts and two convicted terrorists.