Australia pleads for 'Bali Nine' clemency

Feb 25, 2015, 2:29 AM EST
Bay Ismoyo/AFP/Getty
Bay Ismoyo/AFP/Getty

President Joko Widodo has denied clemency to 11 convicts on death row, including the Australian nationals, ratcheting up diplomatic tensions amid repeated pleas for mercy, reports Reuters.

Indonesia's attorney general said on Wednesday the executions, to be carried out by firing squads, would not be delayed or canceled in the face of diplomatic pressure, but declined to specify a date.

"No matter how much pressure we face, we will keep going. I have said previously, this is about enforcing the law consistently," Attorney General H.M. Prasetyo told reporters.

About 90 percent of the preparations for the executions were completed, he said. Officials just needed to coordinate the prisoner transfers and prepare the firing squads, Prasetyo said, adding that the executions would be carried out as soon as possible.

Widodo, who took calls from Brazil, France, and the Netherlands this week - who have nationals on death row in Indonesia - has warned these nations against interfering in Indonesia's sovereign affairs.

So far, Al Jazeera reports, the Indonesian government has been steadfast in its plans to kill the 11 foreign nationals convicted for drug smuggling. A judge this week denied their latest appeal, and the alleged smugglers are to be put to death by firing squad.

The two Australians are in their early 30s and were two of the so-called "Bali Nine," who allegedly tried to smuggle heroin out of Indonesia. Prime Minister Tony Abbot of Australia has reportedly upset officials in Jakarta with Australia's renewed efforts for clemency, including an allegation that Indonesia owes them a reciprocal favor for tsunami aid in 2004. 

Mashable reports that Abbot's comments about tsunami aid led to a cynical hashtag on Twitter, where Indonesians tweeted photos of coins they were "giving back" to Australia. Abbot then walked back his comment, saying the disaster assistance was indeed unconditional but representative of the friendship between the two countries.