Foreign Minister Rejects Australia Plea to Save Bali Pair From Death: Report

FEBRUARY 12, 2015

Jakarta. Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno L.P. Marsudi is reported to have turned down a last-ditch attempt by the government of Australia to spare two of its citizens, convicted of drug trafficking, from the firing squad before the end of the month.

Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31, are among of batch of mostly foreign death-row inmates scheduled to face the firing squad after their requests for clemency were rejected by President Joko Widodo.

“I have been talking to [Australian Foreign Minister] Julie Bishop twice, our communication is consistent,” Retno said on Thursday as quoted by Indonesian news portal Detik.com.

“I have explained Indonesia’s policy. This isn’t about Indonesia against other countries, it’s about Indonesia against crime,” she added.

“In the past, Indonesia was only used as a transit point for drug trafficking, but now we are the biggest market in Asia and third-biggest in the world. We are in an emergency situation.”

Indonesia is not a larger market for illegal drugs than China or India, two other countries in Asia. More people die from road accidents and smoking than are killed by drugs in Indonesia.

Bishop previously made a statement urging the Indonesian government to show mercy for Sukumaran and Chan, who were found guilty of attempting to smuggle more than eight kilograms of heroin out of Bali in 2005.

A lawyer for the pair, Todung Mulya Lubis, said his clients would challenge the presidential decree rejecting the clemency. However, Justice Minister Yasonna Laoly said the challenge would not be recognized under Indonesian law.

Indonesia has faced strong criticism from the international community and human rights groups for resuming the executions of convicted drug traffickers, while President Joko has been criticized for using fallacious data to claim that up to 50 Indonesians die every day from drug abuse.

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