Bali Nine Executions Imminent As Widodo Urged Not To Grant Clemency

It appears that time may have run out for Bali Nine pair Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, the Australian drug smugglers who have been on death row in Indonesia for the past ten years. Chan and Sukumaran were the ringleaders of the so called “Bali Nine,” who were convicted of smuggling more than 8 kg of heroin from Bali into Australia.

Chan and Sukumaran were sentenced to death in 2006 and the rest of the Bali Nine were given lengthy jail terms. There have been numerous legal appeals and requests for clemency on behalf of the pair but all have been unsuccessful. Last week, Chan and Sukumaran were moved from prison in Bali to the execution island Nusa Kambanang.

The Mail reports that a final legal appeal on behalf of the Bali Nine pair will take place this coming Thursday, March 12. This is a legal challenge against a Jakarta courts decision last month, which held that it does not have the authority to overturn President Joko Widodo’s refusal to Grant clemency to the Bali Nine pair. The president has repeatedly said that he will not grant clemency to convicted drug smugglers

The BBC have reported that the Bali Nine ringleaders’ families have traveled to the execution Island to visit the condemned men. Chan’s mother, Helen, and brother, Michael, visited him regularly while he was in prison in Bali. Michael Chan told reporters that they were looking forward to seeing his brother.

“When we get over there, we’ll give him a hug,” he said.

Sukumaran’s parents, Sam and Raji, and brother, Chintu, said they were “counting down the days” until the visit.

“We’ve been told he’s doing well, so we just want to see him for ourselves, just to make sure, and let him know that we love him.”

The Bali Nine pair was also visited by Australian consular staff who continue to lobby the Indonesian authorities in a bid to avoid the executions. Australian premier Tony Abbott has appealed directly to President Joko Widodo but his pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

In a turn of events that seems to reduce any hope of clemency still further the Sydney Morning Herald reports that Indonesia’s former president Megawati Sukarnoputri has told the current president not to grant clemency to the Bali Nine or any of the others on death row. She blames drugs for the spread of HIV in Indonesia. Ms. Megawati is the President’s mentor and the leader of his party and is believed to be behind many of the presidents decisions.

Should the executions of the Bali Nine pair go ahead, they will be shot by a mass firing squad with up to ten other convicted drug smugglers.

President Joko Widodo has been accused of double standards over the Bali Nine case, as he has repeatedly refused them clemency while lobbying against the death sentences imposed on Indonesian citizens abroad.

[Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images]