(AA) – Indonesian authorities’ plans for transporting two Australians for execution appeared frustrated Friday when officials from the airline supposed to carry them denied any involvement.
State-owned Garuda Indonesia issued a statement refuting the claim of a chief prosecutor in the case of Bali Nine drug traffickers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran that the airline would transport the men from Bali to Yogyakarta on Java.
“We reiterate that it is not true that Garuda Indonesia will fly the defendants,” Vice President Pujobroto, who like many Indonesians only uses one name, said.
He added: “We also want to convey that Garuda Indonesia never made any commitment to transport the defendants on flights or aircraft.”
On Friday, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop warned that Australians could boycott Indonesia, a popular holiday destination, if the executions went ahead.
According to the Sydney-based Center for Asia Pacific Aviation, Australia is Garuda’s second largest international market, accounting for 16 percent of international seat sales.
On Thursday it was reported that Chan, 31, and Sukumaran, 33, would be flown to Yogyakarta by Garuda before being driven to Nusa Kambangan, a prison island off the southern coast of Java, for execution by firing squad.
Chief Prosecutor Momock Bambang Samiarso told the Kompas news website the pair, from Sydney, would be removed from Kerobokan prison on Bali “as soon as possible.” They are among 11 convicts due to be executed before the end of the month, the Attorney General’s office said.
The men have been at the center of high-level efforts to have their sentences revoked after 10 years on death row.
They led a gang that attempted to smuggle 8.3 kilograms (18 pounds) of heroin valued at $3.2 million from Indonesia to Australia in April 2005. The other seven gang members were sentenced to life terms.
Their looming executions have seen Australian government ministers, lawmakers and human rights groups call for a reprieve. Indonesia President Joko Widodo has refused clemency for drug offenders facing the death sentence.
Last month, six convicts, including five foreigners, were executed despite diplomatic appeals from Brazil and the Netherlands, resulting in them withdrawing their ambassadors to Jakarta.