Diplomats rush to visit death row inmates in Indonesia

JAKARTA (AFP) - Diplomats scrambled on Friday to visit their citizens on death row in Indonesia as authorities made final preparations to haul several foreign drug convicts in front of the firing squad.

Indonesia has advised consular officials to go to Nusakambangan - the high-security prison island where executions are carried out - this weekend.

Mary Jane Veloso, a Filipino maid, was transferred on Friday to Nusakambangan, where she joined death row inmates from Australia, Brazil, France, Nigeria and Ghana.

"Indonesian government has ordered all prisoners up for execution with or without pending appeals to be transferred to the island including Mary Jane Veloso," Philippine foreign affairs spokesman Charles Jose said.

"Lawyers and embassy were not notified in advance of transfer. We'll inform you of developments as they happen," he said in a text message to reporters in Manila.

The embassies have not been informed of when the group will be executed, with 72-hours notice required by law.

But with the Indonesian government sticking to its hard line that the drug convicts must be executed, even if last-gasp legal manoeuvres are still pending, international outrage is growing.

Australia, which has two drug traffickers on death row, said it was "gravely concerned" at reports that Indonesia's attorney-general was pressing ahead with the executions.

"Australian officials are planning to attend a meeting with Indonesian counterparts in the near future," Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs told AFP in a statement.

"Our ambassador in Jakarta is currently engaged in making a series of representations."

France on Thursday accused Indonesia of "serious dysfunction" in its legal system that led to Frenchman Serge Atlaoui being sentenced to death, and said his execution would be "incomprehensible".

A lawyer for Brazilian inmate Rodrigo Gularte told AFP that consular and legal teams for the condemned inmates were heading to Cilacap, the port town nearest the prison island, as soon as possible.

Drug laws in Indonesia are among the world's toughest and President Joko Widodo, who took office in October, says the country is facing a narcotics emergency that requires the ultimate sanction for convicts.

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