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Indonesia Prepares to Execute Australian Drug Smugglers

  • VOA News

One of the Indonesian police armored vehicles carrying two Australian prisoners arrives at Wijaya Pura port in Cilacap, Central Java, Indonesia, Wednesday, March 4, 2015.

One of the Indonesian police armored vehicles carrying two Australian prisoners arrives at Wijaya Pura port in Cilacap, Central Java, Indonesia, Wednesday, 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.

Besides the two Australians, Andrew Chan, 31, and Myuran Sukumaran, 33, a Nigerian national born in Spain also was transferred to the island prison off Indonesia's main island of Java.

Two other Nigerians, a Philippine woman and four men from Brazil, France, Ghana and Indonesia also are scheduled to be executed. It was not immediately known how many have been transferred to Nusakambangan Island, where they are expected to face the firing squad in the coming days.

Chan and Sukumaran were dubbed leaders of the "Bali Nine" group of nine Australians 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 of the killings.

"Right now millions of Australians are feeling sick in their guts at the prospect of execution for these two. I have been saying again and again that this is contrary to Indonesia's national interests and it's contrary to Indonesia's best values," Abbott said.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said it would be "unacceptable, unthinkable, for plans for the execution to be undertaken" while the lawyers for Chan and Sukumaran are still pursuing legal options.

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

Earlier this month, the president, who is widely known as Jokowi, said the issue is a matter of honor for 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," he said.

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

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

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