CILACAP, April 25 — Indonesia said today it has officially notified eight foreign drug convicts that they will be executed, but a Frenchman was granted a temporary reprieve after Paris stepped up pressure on Jakarta.
The eight — from Australia, Brazil, Nigeria and the Philippines — have been transported to the high-security prison island of Nusakambangan where they will face the firing squad along with an Indonesian prisoner, despite strident international criticism.
“Today, just now, we just finished notifying every convict, nine people except for Serge,” a spokesman for the attorney-general’s office, Tony Spontana, told AFP, adding it would be at least three days until the sentences are carried out.
Officials said earlier that Frenchman Serge Atlaoui, who was expected to be among the group being put to death, will not be included in the forthcoming batch as he still has an outstanding legal appeal.
Spontana did not give a date for the executions but a lawyer for Filipina Mary Jane Veloso said she had been informed she would be put to death on Tuesday.
The news that the execution procedure is under way, after weeks of delays, came after Indonesian officials met diplomats today in a town near Nusakambangan. The consular officials then travelled to the island to visit inmates.
The foreign drug convicts have all lost appeals for clemency from President Joko Widodo, who argues that Indonesia is fighting a drugs emergency.
The Australian government said it had been informed that the execution of its citizens, Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, was “imminent”.
“Nothing can be gained and much will be lost if these two young Australians are executed,” said Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.
“I again respectfully call on the president of Indonesia to reconsider his refusal to grant clemency. It is not too late for a change of heart.”
Minnie Lopez, a lawyer for Veloso, told AFP: “We were informed by Mary Jane herself that she received the notice that the sentence will be implemented on April 28.”
Mother pleads for daughter’s life
The news of Atlaoui’s temporary reprieve came after France dramatically stepped up pressure on Jakarta to change course, and President Francois Hollande warned today of “consequences with France and Europe” if Atlaoui was put to death.
Widodo has previously ignored the increasingly clamorous appeals on the convicts’ behalf from their governments, social media and from others such as band Napalm Death — the president is a huge heavy metal fan.
Earlier today Veloso’s family arrived at Cilacap, the town on Java that serves as the gateway to Nusakambangan. The Filipina’s father and mother, her two sons aged six and 12, and sister pushed through a scrum of waiting journalists.
“If anything bad happens to my daughter, I will hold many people accountable. They owe us my daughter’s life,” Veloso’s 55-year-old mother, Celia, told a Philippine radio station.
“I hope my appeal reaches President Widodo.”
Sukumaran’s sister also issued an emotional plea for his life to be spared, appearing in a YouTube video clutching a photograph of her brother as a young boy in school uniform.
“From the bottom of my heart, please President Widodo have mercy on my brother... change punishment for humanity,” Brintha Sukumaran said.
Three of the African traffickers are confirmed as being from Nigeria. However it is not clear whether the fourth holds Ghanaian or Nigerian nationality.
Indonesia has some of the toughest anti-drugs laws in the world. In January, Jakarta executed six drug convicts, including five foreigners, sparking international outrage. — AFP