DENPASAR - Denpasar police chief commissioner Djoko Hari Utom has said photographs showing him and two Australian drug convicts on death row in Indonesia are not "selfie moment", it was reported.
One picture shows him smiling and with his hand on the back of Andrew Chan, who was seated. Another photo shows him placing his hand on the shoulder of Myuran Sukumaran, who is looking up at him.
The photos, taken on Wednesday on board the plane taking the two Australians from Bali to Cilacap, were published by Indonesian and international media.
The police chief commissioner told Fairfax Media that they had no idea the photos were being taken, and that he was simply trying to raise morale.
"It was not a selfie moment," he was quoted as saying.
The Australians were taken to Nusakambangan, the prison island in central Java where, along with eight others, they are set to be executed by firing squad on a date yet to be determined.
Australia has formally complained to Indonesia over the treatment of the two men, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Friday, amid reports that their execution could be delayed for up to 10 days.
Australia was dismayed at the photographs and the level of security used to transport the two men from Bali to Nusakambangan. Dozens of armed police were deployed.
"I thought they were unbecoming and showed a lack of respect and dignity and we have protested to the Indonesian ambassador here in Canberra," AFP quoted Abbott as saying.
Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey added that the treatment of the pair had been inappropriate. "It was incredibly insensitive, it's almost macabre the way this has been handled by the Indonesian authorities," he said.
Chan and Sukumaran, the ringleaders of the so-called "Bali Nine" drug trafficking gang, were sentenced to death in 2006 for trying to smuggle heroin out of Indonesia. They recently lost their appeals for presidential clemency, typically the final chance to avoid the firing squad.
Australia on Thursday proposed a prisoner swap in an 11th-hour bid to save them, but it was rejected by Jakarta which said the men had "poisoned our nation", AFP reported.
Authorities must give the two men 72 hours' notice before they are executed and reports on Friday suggested their executions could be pushed back by up to 10 days.
Fairfax said the delays were believed to be related to legal appeals, not only for the Australians but also Frenchman Serge Atlaoui and Filipina Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso.
Besides Australia, Brazil and France have also piled pressure on Jakarta, with Paris summoning Indonesia's envoy and the Brazilian president refusing to accept the credentials of the new Indonesian ambassador.