Joko Widodo: Time Runs Out For Bali Nine Pair, Execution Imminent?

Alan Ewart

Indonesia's president Joko Widodo has warned foreign countries not to intervene in his government's right to use capital punishment. According to IoL News President Joko Widodo has denied clemency to 11 convicts on death row, most on drugs charges, despite repeated pleas from Australia, Brazil and France, who all have citizens due to be executed by firing squad.

Widodo has told reporters that the executions will not be delayed after an Indonesian court dismissed a legal challenge to the execution of Bali Nine ringleaders Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan. According to Reuters Joko Widodo defended his country's rights to use the death penalty in drug smuggling cases.

"The first thing I need to say firmly is that there shouldn't be any intervention towards the death penalty because it is our sovereign right to exercise our law."

Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan were the ringleaders of the so-called "Bali Nine" drug smuggling gang, and were arrested for trying to traffic heroin out of Indonesia in 2005 and sentenced to death the following year. Gulf News states that their appeals for presidential clemency, typically a death row convict's final chance of avoiding the firing squad, were rejected by new President Joko Widodo in recent months.

Joke Widodo

Lawyers acting for Sukumaran and Chan appealed to the Administrative Court in Jakarta to challenge Joko Widodo's refusal to grant them clemency, but the court has today dismissed that appeal saying that "clemency is the prerogative of the president... the state administrative court has no right to rule on the challenge."

Whilst there is a right of appeal against the courts decision it is thought the chances of success are very slim. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has made repeated pleas to Joko Widodo asking for the men to be spared, but his pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

It is not clear when the executions will take place but the Sydney Morning Herald quotes Bali's chief prosecutor, Momock Bambang Samiarso, who has signalled the men are likely to be transferred to Nusakamabangan island this week, meaning their executions are imminent.

Tensions between Australia and Indonesia have reportedly increased over the imminent executions and Joko Widodo is apparently furious that Abbott referred to the granting of $1 Billion in aid after the Boxing Day tsunami in his appeal for clemency for Sukumaran and Chan.

It seems that Joko Widodo has now extinguished all hope and the executions could take place within days.

[Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Dimas Ardian/Getty Images]