Indonesia orders preparations for executions of drug convicts

Indonesia orders preparations for executions of drug convicts
A police armored vehicle carrying Filipina drug convict Mary Jane Veloso arrives at Nusakambangan maximum security prison island.

JAKARTA - The Indonesian government said Thursday it had ordered officials to make preparations to execute a group of drug convicts, most of them foreigners, despite mounting international criticism.

The attorney general's office also revealed that a Filipina among the group will be moved on Friday to a prison island where the executions will take place, joining other death row convicts already there.

Ten convicts - from Australia, France, Brazil, the Philippines, Nigeria, Ghana and Indonesia - will face the firing squad at the same time after recently losing appeals for presidential clemency, typically the final chance to avoid execution.

Tony Spontana, the spokesman for the attorney general's office, told AFP that a senior official in the office had "ordered officials in charge of executions to make preparations for an execution".

"This order has been issued so that the officials make preparations concerning their role," he said, without giving further details.

No date has been set for the executions. Convicts must be given 72 hours notice before being put to death, and Spontana said that those awaiting execution had not yet been given this notice.

Authorities were now waiting for the Supreme Court to decide on an appeal lodged by the Indonesian convict among the group, Spontana said.

His is the final Supreme Court appeal pending, and a decision is expected soon. The court on Tuesday rejected appeals by Frenchman Serge Atlaoui and Martin Anderson from Ghana.

Death row convicts can pursue appeals in other courts - and several in the group facing execution are doing so - but they are seen as having little chance of success, and authorities say such efforts simply attempts by condemned prisoners to buy time.

Foreign countries have been heaping pressure on Indonesia to change course over the executions. Australia has mounted a sustained diplomatic campaign to save two Australians among the group, ringleaders of the so-called "Bali Nine" drug-trafficking gang.

Since Atlaoui's appeal was rejected, France has also dramatically stepped up pressure on Jakarta.

French President Francois Hollande has warned his execution could seriously damage bilateral ties, and Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius wrote a letter to his Indonesian counterpart, raising concerns about Atlaoui's trial.

Despite the criticism, President Joko Widodo has insisted that the executions will go ahead, saying that Indonesia is facing an emergency due to rising drugs use.

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