Indonesian President Joko Widodo has said his country’s stance is “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,” 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%” 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.
Meanwhile, an Australian journalist has been deported from Indonesia for reporting without a proper visa as she covered two Australian drug traffickers on death row, an immigration official said.
Candace Sutton, a reporter for the Daily Mail, was taken in for questioning by immigration officials on Wednesday as she interviewed a relative of one of the Australian convicts in the coastal town of Cilacap.
The town is close to a prison island where the traffickers Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan are to be put to death by firing squad, in a ruling that has drawn fierce protest from Canberra.
“We have deported last night the journalist back to Australia with Qantas,” immigration official Yan Wely Wiguna said.
The immigration department said earlier that Sutton “failed to show a journalist visa” and had violated immigration laws by working on a tourist visa that she bought on arrival in Indonesia.
No date has been set for the executions.
Canberra has made repeated pleas for their citizens to be spared but Jakarta has insisted it will push ahead with the executions.
The looming executions have drawn global media attention, and hordes of journalists have descended on Cilacap.
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