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Indonesia Prepares to Execute 9 for Drug Offenses

  • VOA News

An Indonesian police vehicle carries Australian death row prisoners Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran during their transfer at a prison in Bali, March 4, 2015.

An Indonesian police vehicle carries Australian death row prisoners Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran during their transfer at a prison in Bali, March 4, 2015.

Two Australian drug smugglers in Indonesia were taken from their Bali prison Wednesday to an island where they are to be executed.

Andrew Chan, 31, and Myuran Sukumaran, 33, who have spent the past decade behind bars, were accompanied by Raheem Agbaje Salami, 45, a Nigerian national who was born in Cordova, Spain, and Philippine national Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso, 30. All four will be transferred to Nusakambangan Island, where they are expected to face a firing squad in the coming days.

Five other foreigners, two Nigerians and one man each from Brazil, France and Ghana, will also be executed on the prison island off Indonesia's main island of Java.

The eight men and one woman, dubbed the "Bali Nine," were arrested at the Bali airport in 2005. They were convicted of trying to carry more than eight kilos of heroin back to Australia.

Australia has campaigned against the execution of its nationals. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Wednesday said he was "revolted" by the prospect. He said millions of Australians were feeling "sick in their stomachs at the thought of what's likely to happen to these two men."

Indonesia has some of the toughest drug laws in the world. President Joko Widodo had campaigned on a zero-tolerance policy toward dealers.

Earlier this month, Widodo, widely known as Jokowi, said the issue was a matter of honor of the nation.

“There must be no intervention on the execution of convicted drug dealers,” he said. “It is an issue of our rule of law, of our political sovereignty, and positively in our law, death sentence is included."

Since 2013, Indonesia has executed at least 10 convicted drug traffickers. Five foreign nationals were executed by firing squad in January.

Despite denying clemency requests from Australia, Brazil, France and the Netherlands, Jokowi said he wants better international relations.

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