Indonesia defiant as UN leads condemnation of looming executions

Indonesia defiant as UN leads condemnation of looming executions
UN chief Ban Ki-moon (above) expressed deep regret on Wednesday over the executions of seven foreigners in Indonesia, saying the death penalty "has no place in the 21st century."

JAKARTA - Indonesia on Sunday signalled it was determined to push ahead with the execution of eight foreign drug convicts, despite a growing wave of global condemnation led by United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon.

Authorities on Saturday gave formal notice to the eight - from Australia, Brazil, Nigeria and the Philippines - that they would be executed by firing squad imminently, along with an Indonesian prisoner.

However, a Frenchman also on death row for drug-related crimes was granted a temporary reprieve after Paris stepped up pressure on Jakarta.

The group have been moved to the high-security prison island of Nusakambangan, where Indonesia puts condemned prisoners to death, and Jakarta says the executions could be as early as Tuesday, although no official date has been set.

The convicts recently lost appeals for mercy to President Joko Widodo, who has taken a hard line against drug traffickers and refused to back down on the executions despite mounting international criticism.

The UN's Ban added his voice to appeals for the convicts to be spared.

"The Secretary General urges President Joko Widodo to urgently consider declaring a moratorium on capital punishment in Indonesia, with a view toward abolition," a spokesman for Ban said.

Australia, which has mounted a sustained diplomatic campaign to save its two citizens in the group, also renewed appeals following Saturday's news.

"Nothing can be gained and much will be lost if these two young Australians are executed," said Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

"I again respectfully call on the president of Indonesia to reconsider his refusal to grant clemency. It is not too late for a change of heart."

France has stepped up pressure on Jakarta in recent days, with President Francois Hollande warning of "consequences" if its citizen, Serge Atlaoui, is put to death.

The warning came shortly before it was announced that Atlaoui had won a temporary reprieve to allow him to pursue a further legal appeal.

Brazil vowed to press Indonesia not to execute the Brazilian man among the group, Rodrigo Gularte, for humanitarian reasons, saying that he suffers from schizophrenia.

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