BALI – Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has said his stance is “Quite Clear” on the pending executions of two Australian drug smugglers, despite the suggestion by Australia’s prime minister that he is “carefully considering” his position.
The executions by firing squad of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, the Australian ringleaders of the so-called “Bali Nine” drug smuggling gang, are believed to be imminent.
Their appeals for presidential clemency, typically the final chance of avoiding death, were recently rejected by Widodo, and a court this week dismissed a bid to challenge that decision.
The looming sentences have dramatically heightened tensions between Australia and Indonesia, fraying ties that were only just recovering from a spying row.
Australia has been working to persuade Indonesia to allow the men to live, and Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Thursday offered a glimmer of hope after a phone conversation with Widodo, who he said was “carefully considering his position”.
However, Widodo shot that suggestion down in an exclusive interview with local media on Friday. “Our stance is clear. Our laws cannot be interfered (with),” Widodo was quoted as saying by Kontan news website.
The country’s Attorney-General Muhammad Prasetyo earlier said preparations for the executions of 10 drugs convicts which include the two Australians were “about 90 per cent” complete.
The Australians are among a group of foreigners, including a Frenchman and a Brazilian, facing execution.
Brazil and France have also been ramping up pressure on Jakarta, with Paris summoning Indonesia’s envoy and the Brazilian president refusing to accept the credentials of the new Indonesian ambassador.