Asia Indonesia moves drug smugglers to execution island

Indonesia moves drug smugglers to execution island

File- Armed police officers and security personnel stand guard as a ferry carrying ambulances prepares to set off for Nusakambangan island where the executions of the five of six drug convicts will be performed, at Wijayapura port in Cilacap, Central Java, Indonesia, Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015. Five foreigners and an Indonesian woman sentenced to death on drug charges will be executed by firing squad despite international pleas, Indonesian officials said Saturday. (AP Photo/Wagino) (The Associated Press)
 Armed police officers and security personnel stand guard as a ferry carrying ambulances prepares to set off for Nusakambangan island where the executions of the of drug convicts will be performed, at Wijayapura port in Cilacap, Central Java, Indonesia

 (AA) – Four foreign drug smugglers were transferred on Wednesday to an Indonesian island prison where they are due to be executed, local media reported.

Two Australians, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, were taken from a prison in Bali under the glare of the media to a nearby airport to be flown to Central Java.

Two other foreigners, Spaniard Raheem Agbaje Salami and Philippine national Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso also arrived at Nusa Kambangan island from separate jails on Java.

Ten drug offenders, including foreigners from France, Nigeria, Brazil and Ghana as well as an Indonesian, are set to be executed by firing squad in the coming days.

The case of Chan, 31, and Sukumaran, 33, has created a deep rift between Australia and Indonesia. Just before their transfer, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he was “revolted” at the prospect of the executions.

The pair, leaders of the “Bali Nine” heroin trafficking ring, were ferried out of Kerobokan prison in two armored vehicles at around 6.30 a.m. (0130GMT) before being put on a civil airline flight to Cilacap, arriving at the ferry port to Nusa Kambangan under heavy guard two hours later.

Their convoy was shadowed by helicopters as they boarded a boat to the 30 kilometer (18 mile) island that houses seven prison facilities, including Batu jail, where the executions are due to be conducted.

Kerobokan Governor Sudjonggo, who goes by a single name, said Chan and Sukumaran appeared at ease as they left the prison, where they have lived for the last 10 years.

“There is no obstacle,” he told the Kompas news website. “They are ready to move. They smile. Everything is running smoothly.”

Chan’s brother Michael was denied permission to see him before the transfer. Television footage showed Michael Chan walking away from the prison with his brother’s Indonesian girlfriend, who was in tears.

At Madiun prison in East Java, 45-year-old Salami’s transfer ran smoothly but without the heavy escort that accompanied Chan and Sukumaran, the Tempo online news outlet reported. He bid goodbye to guards and fellow prisoners and left a letter for his girlfriend behind.

Veloso, 30, was brought from Yogyakarta prison. A hearing for a judicial review into her case was due Wednesday.

Two prisoners – Brazilian Rodrigo Gularte, 42, and Serge Areski Atlaoui, 50, from France – are already imprisoned on Nusa Kambangan, where they were visited by family members on Tuesday.

Gularte’s family claim he has been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and should be in a psychiatric facility.

Like Veloso, Atlaoui has also applied for a judicial review of his sentence.

Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo has granted permission for inmates’ relatives to see them on Nusa Kambangan. “As long as [they have] not yet been isolated, families still may be admitted,” he told Detik online.

Prasetyo said the prisoners would be given 72 hours’ notice before the sentences were carried out and isolated a few hours before their deaths. He added that the prisoners were being offered religious counseling. “We will also be asking what their last request [is],” he said.

Australia has been putting pressure on Indonesia since it executed the first batch of prisoners under President Joko Widodo’s administration in January.

In an interview with ABC News on Wednesday, Abbott said: “I think there are millions of Australians who feel sick to their stomachs about what’s happened to these two men who committed a terrible crime, a terrible crime.”

France has summoned Indonesia’s ambassador while the Brazilian president refused to accept the credentials of the new Indonesian envoy.

Widodo has adopted a tough stance on drug traffickers, denying clemency while Indonesia faces a “drug emergency.” The death penalty was resumed in 2013 after a five-year gap but the first executions only occurred earlier this year when six drug offenders, including five foreigners, were executed.

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