Indonesia rejects clemency appeals by seven foreigners on death row

JAKARTA (AFP) - Indonesia is ready to execute seven foreigners on death row after their appeals for presidential clemency were rejected, an official said, despite an international outcry following recent executions.

Authorities had already revealed that the two Australian leaders of the "Bali Nine" drug-smuggling gang had lost their appeals for clemency from President Joko Widodo, and would likely soon face the firing squad.

A spokesman for the attorney-general's office revealed that a further five foreign drug convicts had recently lost their appeals, from countries including France, Brazil, Nigeria and Ghana. Four Indonesians on death row had also lost their appeals.

“The attorney-general’s office now has 11 convicts on death row ready to be executed,” spokesman Tony Spontana said late on Wednesday. Mr Spontana said a decision had not yet been made on when or where the convicts would be executed, only that more than one would face the firing squad in the next round.Indonesia earlier this month executed six drug offenders, including five foreigners, prompting a furious Brazil and the Netherlands – whose citizens were among those put to death – to recall their ambassadors.

Drug offenders from Vietnam, Malawi and Nigeria were also among those killed by firing squad.Despite his image as a reformist, Indonesia’s new president has been a vocal supporter of capital punishment for drug offenders, disappointing rights activists who had hoped that he would take a softer line on the death penalty.He has repeatedly vowed to show no clemency to drug traffickers. In a CNN interview broadcast earlier this week, Mr Joko vowed: “We are not going to compromise for drug dealers. No compromise. No compromise.”

“Imagine, every day, we have 50 people die because of narcotics, because of drugs,” he said.“Indonesia is in the position of a drug emergency. We need to have something that’s firm and a positive law in Indonesia still allows the death penalty.”

Mr Spontana said a decision had not yet been made on when or where the convicts would be executed, only that more than one would face the firing squad in the next round.The Frenchman is Serge Atlaoui, who has been on death row since 2007, Mr Spontana confirmed.Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said she was “distressed and outraged” after Indonesia defied her last-ditch pleas to halt the last round of executions.Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders described all six of those deaths as “terribly sad", adding: “My heart goes out to their families, for whom this is marks a dramatic end to years of uncertainty.”

The Australians set to be executed, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, were arrested in 2005 for attempting to smuggle 8kg of heroin out of Indonesia.Sukumaran’s appeal for clemency was rejected in December, and Chan’s was rejected earlier this month.That removed the final hurdle to put the pair to death, as the Indonesian authorities said they must be executed together as they had committed their crime together.Lawyers for the pair are planning a last-ditch appeal to their convictions but the attorney-general’s office has said that further legal challenges are not possible once a clemency bid has been rejected.The Frenchman Atlaoui was arrested in 2005 in a secret laboratory producing ecstasy close to Jakarta.