Julie Bishop again begs Indonesia to spare Australians | News | DW | 27.04.2015
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Julie Bishop again begs Indonesia to spare Australians

Australia has urged Indonesia to review the death sentences of two nationals. Two convicted "Bali Nine" smugglers are set to be executed as early as Tuesday, but bribery allegations have surfaced regarding their trial.

Australia continues to lobby Indonesia to spare two nationals. Myuran Sukumaran (right in photo), Andrew Chan (left) and eight other convicted traffickers received notice that they could die by firing squad within days.

"Mr. Chan and Mr. Sukumaran's lawyers are pursuing action before the Constitutional Court in Indonesia," Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told the national broadcaster ABC radio of her latest appeal to Retno Marsudi, her counterpart in Jakarta. "And there's also a separate investigation under way by the Indonesian Judicial Commission into claims of corruption into the original trial, and both of these processes raise questions about the integrity of the sentencing and the clemency process."

Sukumaran, 33, and Chan, 31, four Nigerians, a Filipina mother of two who says she was duped into carrying drugs, an Indonesian, a Frenchman, and a Brazilian diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia could face execution Tuesday. Only France's Serge Atlaoui has an outstanding complaint over the procedure following his request for clemency. However, Indonesia's Supreme Court could rule on that Monday.

'An extraordinary situation'

Fairfax Media published allegations of corruption by the judges who sentenced the pair in 2006, claiming that they asked for more than 1 billion rupiah to give the men a prison term of less than 20 years. The outlet quoted the men's then-lawyer, Muhammad Rifan, an Indonesian who claimed a deal fell through after intervention by Jakarta, which allegedly ordered the death penalty. Rifan said he had decided to go public given that the executions could occur as early as Tuesday and the Indonesian body that safeguards the probity of judges had yet to complete its investigation into the alleged requests for bribes.

"If they are dead they cannot be brought back again," Rifan said, according to the report.

One judge has denied any interference or negotiations. Sukumaran and Chan, along with the others facing the firing squad, recently lost appeals for mercy to President Widodo, who has taken a hard line against drug traffickers and refused to back down despite mounting international criticism.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon also appealed for the convicts to be spared. Foreign Minister Bishop seized on that, again warning Indonesia that it could see its international standing damaged by the executions.

"I have made the point publicly and privately that this could harm Indonesia's international standing and when the secretary-general of the United Nations weighs into the debate I think that this is a global issue," Bishop said.

mkg/lw (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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