Indonesia to deport Australian journalist covering death row story

Indonesia to deport Australian journalist covering death row story
Indonesian police practise moving prisoners during an exercise ahead of the expected transfer of two Australian death row prisoners to the prison island of Nusa Kambangan, in Denpasar.

JAKARTA - An Australian journalist will be deported from Indonesia Friday after being caught covering the story of two Australian drug traffickers on death row without the correct visa, immigration authorities 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 at a hotel on the main island of Java.

The interview was taking place in the port town of Cilacap, close to a prison island where the traffickers Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan are to be put to death.

The men, ringleaders of the so-called "Bali Nine" drug smuggling gang, are facing imminent execution after the president rejected their pleas for clemency, typically a death row convict's last chance of avoiding the firing squad.

No date has been set for the executions.

Immigration department spokesman Heriyanto, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, said that Sutton "failed to show a journalist visa" and had violated immigration laws by working while on a tourist visa that she bought on arrival in Indonesia.

She will be put on a flight late Friday from Jakarta back to Sydney, authorities said.

The Australians are among a group of foreigners, including a Frenchman and a Brazilian, who are likely to be executed soon.

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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