Indonesian authorities hint execution of drug convicts imminent, summon embassies

Jakarta – The Attorney General’s office said Friday it has issued a letter ordering the execution of 10 drug convicts and embassy officials have been requested to travel to Nusakambangan prison island at the weekend. 

The letter, issued by the deputy attorney general for general crimes, telling prosecutors to “prepare and carry out the executions “, said Attorney General’s office spokesman Tony Spontana.

“It’s not a letter of notification to the convicts,” Tony said. “It’s a normal thing.”

Tony declined to reveal the date for the executions, but said embassy officials had been summoned to be in the Nusakambangan island prison, where the inmates will be executed, on Saturday.

He said last week that the executions would likely be carried out this month after the Asia-Africa Conference, which ended today.

The order came as the European Union criticised Indonesia’s plan to execute the convicts.

The EU said the death penalty is not a solution to the country’s growing drug problem.

A French citizen, Serge Atlaoui, is among the inmates facing the firing squad for drug trafficking. The Supreme Court this week rejected his request for a case review.

“The recent rejections in Indonesia of retrials, including in the case of a French citizen, bring closer the regrettable prospect of further executions,” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement.

“The EU holds a strong and principled position against the death penalty in all cases and in all circumstances and works towards the abolition of the death penalty worldwide,” she said.

“While we acknowledge the fact that Indonesia has to cope with a growing drugs problem, experience in other countries strongly suggests that capital punishment is not the answer,” Mogherini said.

She said the EU stood ready to support Indonesia’s efforts to tackle its drug problem.

Atlaoui was convicted of running an ecstasy factory and sentenced to death in 2007. He has told the court that he was only a welder who thought he was working in a chemical factory, not a drug lab.

The other drug inmates facing execution are two Australians, four from Nigeria, and each one from Indonesia, the Philippines and Brazil.

The convict officials earlier identified as being from Ghana was actually Nigerian, Tony said.

Indonesia executed five foreigners and an Indonesian in January, drawing protests from Brazil and the Netherlands, whose citizens were among those put to death.

Tony said a move by Australian drug convicts Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan to lodge a judicial review petition with the Constitutional Court would be ignored because by law foreigners could not make such a request.

The governments of Australia, Nigeria, the Philippines, France and Brazil have appealed to Indonesian President Joko Widodo to show mercy and spare their nationals, but there are no indications that he is changing his mind.

In the case of the Australians, their lawyers and the Australian government argued that Joko failed to consider their rehabilitation when making decisions  on their fate.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry brushed aside criticism of Indonesia’s legal system by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

The French news agency AFP quoted Fabius as saying Thursday that Atlaoui had been the victim of a hasty trial and was sentenced “in a ruling containing erroneous statements”.

“Indonesia has its own, sovereign legal system,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir told The Parrot. “All convicted foreigners have been given their rights.”

“If there have been problems, please provide evidence. We have to respect each other,” he said.

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