Indonesian officials on Friday rebuffed pleas from the Australian government and a top United Nations human rights official to call off the imminent executions of two Australians convicted of attempted drug smuggling a decade ago.
The pleas for mercy were punctuated in the Australian city of Canberra with a veiled warning from Foreign Minister Julie Bishop that the executions planned before the end of this month could inspire a citizen boycott of Bali, a favorite vacation destination for Australians.
“I think the Australian people will demonstrate their deep disapproval of this action, including by making decisions about where they wish to holiday,” Bishop told Fairfax radio after making an impassioned appeal for reprieve for the two men.
Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were convicted and sentenced to death for their roles as ring leaders in a 2005 attempt to smuggle 8 kilograms, or 17.6 pounds, of heroin out of the country after a visit to Bali.
The Jakarta government on Friday authorized the transfer of Chan and Sukumaran from Kerobokan prison to the execution venue at the Central Java prison island of Nusakambangan, Sky News Australia reported.
Michael Kirby, a former justice on Australia’s supreme court, joined Bishop in warning of potential damage to relations between the Indian Ocean neighbors.
“This was not Indonesian drug dealing, it was Australian drug dealing — these were Australians who are getting on to an Australian plane to bring them back to Australia with Indonesian drugs,” Kirby said of the Bali Nine case. Seven others involved in the crime remain imprisoned with long terms but do not face the death penalty.