Saturday, July 11

Indonesia says relations with Australia to be affected by executions

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SYDNEY: Indonesia’s Ambassador to Australia Nadjib Riphat Kesoema said on Wednesday his country is not “trigger happy” but confirmed “all aspects” of relations between the countries would be affected by the impending execution of two Australians, a Xinhua News report said.

Convicted drug smugglers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were on Wednesday transported from Bali to Indonesia’s so-called execution island of Nusakambangan, where they are due to be executed by a firing squad.

Kesoema spoke about the issue at an Australia Indonesia Business Council event in Perth as the executions became the main political talking point in Australia.

“We are not trigger happy — we do it for a very good reason,” he said.

Ambassador Nadjib said it was a sad situation for both nations, but many people died in Indonesia every month from drugs. “All of them poisoned by these people.”

News Corporation reported the ambassador said the pending execution would “of course” affect all aspects of relations between the countries, including diplomacy.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Wednesday that he was “revolted” by the upcoming executions.

The transportation of the pair to the execution island comes after months of behind the scenes diplomatic negotiations, led by Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and activism by more than 100,000 Australians who have signed petitions opposing the death penalty imposed on the pair.

The Australian government and supporters of the apparently doomed duo have not sought their release, but argued they have shown they have been reformed in their 10 years at Bali’s Kerobokan prison where they have become mentors and carers of other prisoners.

It has been argued by those who want to see mercy for both men that it is a credit to Indonesia’s prison system that the men, part of a heroin smuggling ring involving seven other young Australians, have been rehabilitated.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo refused Chan and Sukamaran’s pleas for clemency.