SYDNEY (Reuters/AFP) - Australia's Foreign Minister on Wednesday appealed to Indonesia's President to show mercy for two Australian drug traffickers due to executed in Indonesia, expressing disappointment that their latest legal appeal had been rejected.
“We are very disappointed that the appeal was lost at this point,” Ms Bishop told the Nine Network. “But I understand that the lawyers are considering a further legal avenue and they have about 14 days in which to do so.”
She said Canberra would continue to lobby Indonesian President Joko Widodo to show forgiveness. “We can only hope that they will see the value of these men’s lives, both men have been rehabilitated in the most remarkable way,” she said, adding that meeting Sukumaran’s mother recently was heartbreaking. “She hugged me so tightly that I could hardly breathe and just begged me to do all I could to save the life of her son, whose own life had been rehabilitated in such an extraordinary way.”
"We respect Indonesia's sovereignty, we respect their legal system," Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told Sky News. "What we are asking is that President Widodo show mercy to these two young Australians," she said. "He is a generous and forgiving man."
Indonesia’s attorney-general said on Wednesday the executions, to be carried out by firing squads, would not be delayed or cancelled in the face of diplomatic pressure, but declined to specify a date. “No matter how much pressure we face, we will keep going. I have said previously, this is about enforcing the law consistently,” Attorney-General H.M. Prasetyo told reporters.
About 90 per cent of the preparations for the executions were completed, he said. Officials just needed to coordinate the prisoner transfers and prepare the firing squads, Mr Prasetyo said, adding that the executions would be carried out as soon as possible.Mr Joko, who took calls from Brazil, France, and the Netherlands this week – who have nationals on death row in Indonesia – has warned these nations against interfering in Indonesia’s sovereign affairs
Shortly before the president spoke, a court in Jakarta threw out an appeal by the two Australians, Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31, against Mr Joko's rejection of their request for presidential clemency.
Lawyers for the members of the so-called Bali Nine group of Australians, convicted in 2005 as the ringleaders of a plot to smuggle heroin out of Indonesia, have said they plan to appeal Tuesday's decision. They have two weeks to file an appeal.
The Australian government has stressed that Sukumaran and Chan have been rehabilitated in prison, where they mentor younger inmates. "They are making a contribution to the Indonesian prison system and in fact the story of their rehabilitation is something of which Indonesia can be proud," Ms Bishop said. "We believe their lives should be spared and they should be given a second chance."
Relations between Indonesia and Australia have sunk to a new low as Indonesia prepares to execute 11 convicts on death row, most on drugs charges, including the two Australians.
Mr Joko has denied clemency to the convicts despite repeated pleas from Australia, Brazil and France, who all have citizens due to be executed by firing squad.
He has accused these nations of interfering in Indonesia's sovereign affairs.
Indonesia has harsh penalties for drug trafficking and resumed executions in 2013 after a five-year gap.
Ms Bishop has previously said Australia would consider recalling its ambassador to Indonesia in protest if the executions are carried out.
Brazil and the Netherlands have already withdrawn their ambassadors after Indonesia executed their citizens on drug offences last month.