Execution of foreign drug convicts in Indonesia 'within days': Embassy staff

JAKARTA (REUTERS) – Indonesia has asked foreign embassies to go to a maximum security prison for the expected execution of 10 mainly foreign drug convicts, although an official 72-hour notice of execution has not been given yet, foreign officials said on Friday.

“It’s true, we have been told to be there on Saturday,” said a foreign embassy who asked not to be identified because she was not authorised to speak to the media.

“We still don’t know when the actual date of execution will happen but we expect that it will be in days,” she said.

This comes as Indonesian authorities said on Thursday that they hoped to announce soon the date of the execution of a group of drug convicts after the highest court rejected the final appeals of all but one.

More than half of the 10 prisoners facing the firing squad are foreign nationals, and the case has strained Jakarta's relations with Australia, France and Brazil.

"We hope the Supreme Court's decision on the last case will come as soon as possible so that we can determine the date (of execution) soon," said Tony Spontana, spokesman for the attorney general's office.

The outstanding appeal is that of an Indonesian national.

The Supreme Court this week rejected the final appeals of a French and a Ghanaian prisoner, according to media reports. Others in the group are from Australia, Brazil, the Philippines and Nigeria.

Philippine Vice-President Jejomar Binay met his Indonesian counterpart Jusuf Kalla on the sidelines of a conference in Jakarta this week to appeal for mercy on behalf of the Philippine prisoner.

"This is an appeal based on humanitarian considerations," Binay told reporters late on Thursday. When asked if he anticipated any diplomatic fallout between the neighbouring states if the execution went ahead, he said: "I doubt it."

French President Francois Hollande warned Indonesia on Wednesday that the execution would damage ties between the two countries, according to media reports.

The Australian government has repeatedly pleaded for clemency for Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, but Indonesian President Joko Widodo has refused to budge.

Indonesia has harsh punishments for drug crimes and resumed executions in 2013 after a five-year gap. Six have been carried out so far this year.