Australian government should recall its top envoy after Jokowi rejected clemency

Australian government should recall its top envoy after Jokowi rejected clemency
In this file photo taken on August 17, 2010, convicted Australian drug smugglers Myuran Sukumaran (L) and Andrew Chan (R), the leaders of the so-called "Bali Nine" drug-smuggling gang, gesture as they sit inside Kerobokan prison in Denpasar, Bali

Indonesian Ambassador to Australia Nadjib Rifat Kesuma says it is the diplomatic right of the Australian government to recall its top envoy in response to President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's decision to reject the clemency appeals of two Australians on death row who are facing imminent execution.

Nadjib made the statement in response to circulating speculation of a possible recall of the Australian ambassador to Indonesia as the Australian government's reaction to the rejection of its pleas for two death row Australians, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

"I don't know whether or not it [the Australian government] will recall its ambassador to Indonesia. However, diplomatically, it can do anything to express its displeasure," he said as quoted by Antara news agency on the sidelines of a working meeting of heads of Indonesian missions at the Foreign Ministry in Jakarta on Tuesday.

Nadjib said that technically Indonesia could understand any response of the Australian government because it was normal for a government to defend the rights of its citizens.

"They tried to discuss with me whether there were ways they could change our government's mind. I told them that the government had made its final decision after a string of legal moves," said Nadjib.

The ambassador further said that Indonesia and Australia had overcome various challenges, so the execution of the two death row convicts would not trigger turmoil between the two countries.

Results of a recent survey conducted by pollster Roy Morgan show that 52 per cent of Australians agreed with the death penalty being handed down to Australian drug traffickers in other countries.

"We can say that 52 per cent of Australians support Indonesia's position," said Nadjib.

The Ray Morgan poll, which involved 2,123 Australian respondents, was conducted from Jan. 23 to 27. In the survey, 62 per cent of Australians said their government did not need to take further action to stop the executions of Chan and Sukumaran.

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