Jokowi denies Abbott's claims about executions

Jokowi denies Abbott's claims about executions
Indonesia's President Joko Widodo.

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has contradicted Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's claim that the President gave him an indication that he might soften his stance on the planned executions of 11 prisoners, including two Australian drug smugglers.

In an interview with daily business newspaper Kontan on Friday, the President reiterated that he would not commute the sentences imposed on drug traffickers as the country was in a state of emergency caused by drug abuse. He insisted that the executions of the convicts would go ahead as scheduled. On Thursday, the government had initially kept silent after Abbott issued his statement.

"Our position is clear: our laws cannot be interfered with," the newspaper quoted Jokowi as saying.

Abbott said he spoke with his "friend" Jokowi on Wednesday evening and claimed that the Indonesian leader "absolutely understands our position [...] and I think he is carefully considering Indonesia's position".

Abbott called Jokowi on Wednesday evening. It was part of the "damage control" conducted by the Australian leader after his earlier remarks, which linked Australia's huge financial aid to Aceh after the 2004 tsunami to the executions of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, angered many Indonesians.

However, as reported by Reuters, Abbott declined to reveal the details of their telephone conversation. "I don't want to raise hope that might turn out to be dashed," said Abbott, who attended the inauguration of Jokowi as the country's seventh president in October last year.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was outraged with Jokowi's refusal to accept her appeals to save the lives of two Brazilian drug traffickers, including one who was executed last month. She humiliated the Indonesian ambassador-designate to Brazil, Toto Riyanto, by refusing to receive his credentials just minutes before the official ceremony at her office last week.

French President Francois Hollande has also failed to persuade Jokowi to soften his stance on French convict Serge Atloui, who was also put on the list of convicts soon to face firing squads.

Separately, Australian Daily Mail journalist Candace Sutton was arrested for allegedly violating the Immigration Law while covering the execution preparations on Nusakambangan prison island, Cilacap regency, Central Java.

"We detained the journalist because she is suspected of having no recommendation letter from the Foreign Ministry and only has a visitor's visa," the Cilacap Immigration Office's spokesperson, Welly Wiguna, said Friday.

Welly said the journalist would be deported on Friday evening. The office had previously deported two journalists from Brazil and Peru who covered the preparations for the first round of executions last month. The government has warned international journalists that they have to obtain press visas prior to covering the executions.

Meanwhile, Bali Police's Mobile Brigade (Brimob) announced its readiness to transfer the two Australians to Nusakambangan Island. "We have been ready. We are ready to move to do the task [the transportation]," Brimob chief Sr. Comr. Rudy Harianto said during a simulation of the transfer in Denpasar on Friday.

Rudy said that the two death row convicts would be guarded by 20 Brimob personnel; each of them will be escorted by 10 officers. In the initial plan, each convict would have been escorted by only five officers from Brimob. "Because at the beginning, it was planned to use a small charter flight. But now that has been changed," he said.

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