Indonesia stands firm on executing convicts

President says planned executions of 11, including two Australians, will not be delayed despite international pressure.

PM Abbott angered Jakarta last week when he linked Australia's 2004 tsunami aid to the fate of two drug smugglers [EPA]

Indonesia’s president has said the planned execution of 11 convicts on death row – including two Australian drug smugglers – will not be delayed and warned foreign countries not to intervene in Jakarta’s right to use capital punishment.

President Joko Widodo has denied clemency to the convicts despite repeated pleas from Australia, Brazil and France, who have citizens due to be executed soon by firing squad.

“The first thing I need to say firmly is that there shouldn’t be any intervention towards the death penalty because it is our sovereign right to exercise our law,” President Joko Widodo told reporters on Tuesday.

Indonesians react to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott
Many Indonesians were outraged by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s request that the country “reciprocate” aid by saving two Australians on death row.
“Let’s not forget that a few years ago when Indonesia was struck by the Indian ocean tsunami, Australia sent a billion dollars worth of assistance,” the prime minister told reporters last week.
“I would say to the Indonesian people and to the Indonesian government, we in Australia are always there to help you and we hope that you might reciprocate in this way at this time”.
Using social media, they have started a campaign to pay back Australia for its assistance after the 2004 tsunami.
#KoinUntukAustralia , or “coins for Australia”, has been used more than 52,000 times on Twitter over the past week as Indonesians discuss their coin collection efforts.
Read more on the social campaign on Al Jazeera’s The Stream

The president’s statement came after an Indonesian court dismissed a bid by Australian drug traffickers Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan to avoid execution by challenging his rejection of their pleas for clemency.

Sukumaran, 33,and Chan, 31, two members of the so-called Bali Nine, were convicted in 2005 as the ringleaders of a plot to smuggle heroin out of Indonesia.

Most of the 11 prisoners on death row were convicted on drug charges.

Widodo said he took calls from the leaders of France, Brazil and the Netherlands about the death penalty but made no mention of Australia.

Australia has been pursuing an eleventh-hour campaign to save the lives of Sukumaran and Chan – but its efforts have strained the country’s relationship with its northern neighbour.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott angered Jakarta last week when he linked Australia’s 2004 tsunami aid to the fate of the two drug smugglers on death row – saying that Indonesia should reciprocate the kindness shown.

Australian lawyer Julian McMahon told the Sydney Morning Herald that the bilateral tensions were not helping the two Australian prisoners.

“There is tension in the media about what is being said in both countries,” he said.

“A great concern of ours is that things just calm down. That tension is not necessary. And it’s not fair to the people involved, it’s not fair to people whose lives are the balance.

“It’s not fair to the decision makers such as the president who need to make difficult decisions, balancing many issues.”

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies


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