Australian Convicts Transferred to Indonesian Island for Execution
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Two convicted Australian drug smugglers were transferred on Wednesday from a Bali prison to an island for execution along with other foreigners, underlining Indonesia's determination to use the death penalty despite international criticism.
The planned executions of Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31, have ratcheted up diplomatic tensions between Australia and Indonesia following repeated pleas for mercy on their behalf. They are among a group of up to 11 convicts, mostly foreigners, scheduled to go before a firing squad on the prison island of Nusakambangan.
Sukumaran and Chan left Bali's Kerobokan Prison in an armored van with a police escort before dawn and were taken to Denpasar airport for a flight to the Javanese port of Cilacap for the trip to Nusakambangan, witnesses said.
Armored vans boarded a boat in Cilacap and the Australians arrived at Nusakambangan soon after, Reuters reported.
A Frenchman and a Brazilian are already on the island. Also facing execution are citizens of the Philippines, Ghana and Nigeria, as well as Indonesia.
Indonesian Attorney General H.M. Prasetyo, who had previously said all 11 would be executed, said on Wednesday his office was still evaluating how many would go before firing squads. All had been convicted on drug offences.
"We want to send a message to all parties, to the people of the world, that Indonesia is trying hard to battle drug crimes," Prasetyo said.
A spokesman for Prasetyo's office confirmed the transfer of the two Australians but the usual public 72-hour notice of any execution is yet to be issued.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he was "revolted by the prospect of these executions", after Indonesian President Joko Widodo recently told others to stay out of his country's sovereign affairs.
Widodo has adopted a tough stance against drug traffickers and others on death row, denying clemency appeals. Executions were resumed in 2013 after a five-year gap and nationals from Brazil, Malawi, the Netherlands, Nigeria and Vietnam have been among those put in front of a firing squad.