Death Nears With Inmates’ Execution Island Move
Jakarta. Two Australian convicted drug traffickers facing imminent execution amid rising international pressure on the Indonesian government have arrived at a maximum security prison on Nusakambangan island, off the coast of Central Java, where 10 inmates will likely be shot within days.
“It is true, both have arrived on Nusakambangan around 9 a.m. this morning,” Central Java Police spokesman Comr. Liliek Darmanto said on Wednesday, referring to Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, the leaders of the so-called “Bali Nine” drug trafficking group.
The men were sentenced to death after they were found guilty of attempting to smuggle more than eight kilograms of heroin from Bali in 2006.
They had been serving their terms in Bali’s Kerobokan Prison prior to their arrival on Wednesday on Nusakambangan prison island, where the infamous Bali Bombings trio Amrozi, Imam Samudera and Mukhlas were executed by a firing squad in 2008.
Liliek said that police have beefed up security on and around the island ahead of the execution, for which no date has been announced.
“Security is very tight because this case has caught international attention,” Liliek said.
Attorney General H.M. Prasetyo said Chan, 31, and Sukumaran, 33, would not be immediately isolated after their arrival on Nusakambangan and that they would be allowed to receive some visitors.
“They can still be visited before they are isolated. Later on, before their final moments, their contact with other people will be limited,” Prasetyo said in Jakarta.
He added the delay in the planned executions, originally slated for last month, had nothing to do with international pressure.
“We are still conducting the evaluation, it doesn’t mean we are afraid of something but because this concerns people’s lives,” he said.
Indonesia ended its unofficial moratorium on executions of inmates in death row after President Joko Widodo rejected clemency appeals from some of them — including the two Australian nationals.
In the first round of executions in January, six people were fatally shot by the firing squad — five on Nusakambangan and one in the Central Java district of Boyolali.
They included a Brazilian and a Vietnamese national.
For the approaching second round, 10 inmates will be executed on Nusakambangan.
Attorney General’s Office spokesman Tony Spontana said aside from Chan and Sukumaran, another inmate in death row had arrived on Nusakambangan on Wednesday from a prison in Madiun, East Java.
He added the AGO was awaiting the arrivals of other inmates — including from Palembang, Tangerang and Yogyakarta — before they would proceed with the executions.
National Police deputy chief Comr. Gen. Badrodin Haiti said 10 firing squads, consisting of 13 officers each, had been prepared to execute the convicts.
An extra 250 police officers have been dispatched to secure Nusakambangan ahead of the executions.
“They’re ready,” he said, adding that according to regulations, one firing squad would execute one inmate each.
Indonesia’s coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, Tedjo Edhy Purdijatno, said on Wednesday that the AGO was “95 percent ready” for the executions and that the President had ordered them to proceed with the plans.
“After receiving the attorney general’s report on preparations for the executions, the President said to go ahead with them,” Tedjo said after a meeting with the Joko at the president’s office in Jakarta.
Tedjo said security was tight on and around Nusakambangan — and the same level as during the January executions.
National Intelligence Agency (BIN) chief Marciano Norman also denied out of proportion security measures, saying there had been no reports of attempts to thwart the executions.
“Security measures are proportional … normal,” Marciano said.
Meanwhile, Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu said he had gathered defense attaches of 40 foreign embassies in Jakarta to brief them on Indonesia’s harsh stance on capital punishment for drug trafficking convicts, citing the country’s state of emergency in its war against narcotics — the same argument that has repeatedly been used by officials including Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and the president himself.
“We told them that security [on and around Nusakambangan] is also provided by the TNI [Indonesian Military],” Ryamizard said.
President Joko’s decision to not grant any drug convicts on death row clemency and push ahead with executions this year has soured the country’s ties with Brazil and threatens to severely affect relations with Australia, among other nations.
Indonesian activists have also criticized the decision, saying it hampers efforts to save the hundreds of Indonesians, most of whom are migrant workers, facing the death penalty abroad.
Many other Indonesians, though, have reacted defensively to Brazil’s and Australia’s perceived pressure on the Indonesian government to cancel plans to execute their citizens. Debates on capital punishment among Indonesian citizens have taken on a nationalistic tenor, with consensus rallying assertions that other countries should not interfere with Indonesia’s legal process, which has been rather tenuously characterized as exhibiting the rule of law.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he was “revolted” by Chan and Sukumaran’s looming executions.
“At every moment, I’m making Australia’s position clear,” Abbott told ABC Radio. “We, frankly, are revolted by the prospect of these executions. I think there are millions of Australians who feel sick to their stomachs about what’s happened to these two men who committed a terrible crime, a terrible crime,” Abbott said.
“But the position of Australia is that we abhor drug crime but we abhor the death penalty as well, which we think is beneath a country like Indonesia.”
Additional reporting from Reuters
Source: The Jakarta Globe