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Indonesia Says Foreign Drug Smugglers Will Face Firing Squad Despite Global Outcry

Indonesian officials said nine convicted drug traffickers from Australia, France, Brazil, and other nations could be executed as early as Tuesday.
Photo by Darren Whiteside/AP

The execution of nine international drug traffickers in Indonesia could come as early as Tuesday, officials announced Sunday, despite a global outcry and a plea from the United Nations to spare their lives.

The Indonesian government gave the convicts — who are from Australia, Nigeria, the Philippines, Brazil, France, and one from Indonesia — a 72-hour warning for the executions and asked for their last wishes, a spokesman for Indonesia's attorney general said, according to the Associated Press.

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On Friday, the attorney general's office asked the foreign embassies of the prisoners to send representatives to the maximum-security prison where the executions will take place, according to Reuters.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon joined a chorus of world leaders asking Indonesia to refrain from carrying out the execution.

"Under international law, if the death penalty is to be used at all, it should only be imposed for the most serious crimes, namely those involving intentional killing, and only with appropriate safeguards," Ban's statement said. "Drug-related offenses generally are not considered to fall under the category of most serious crimes. The Secretary-General urges President Joko Widodo to urgently consider declaring a moratorium on capital punishment in Indonesia, with a view toward abolition."

Related: Black Sabbath guitarist pleads with Indonesia to have mercy on Australian drug smugglers 

Widodo has said he will not grant clemency to any drug dealers on death row, according to the New York Times.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot has pleaded for clemency for Australian prisoners Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, who were convicted of of trying to smuggle 18 pounds of heroin from Bali to Sydney, Australia, in 2005.

"As a Government, as a Parliament that wants nothing but good for Indonesia, we are speaking as one united voice publicly and privately in every way we can — pull back from this brink," Abbott said last month. "Pull back from this brink. Don't just realize what is in your own best interests, but realize what is in your own best values."

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French President Francois Hollande said there could be diplomatic and economic consequences if Indonesia executed French citizen Serge Atlaoui, who will have a last-minute court hearing Monday.

The prisoners are to be executed by firing squad, according to the government's statement.

Indonesia previously executed six drug traffickers by firing squad in January despite calls for leniency, and remains among the strictest nations when it comes to drug laws. According to the AP, more than 130 people are on death row in the country, mostly for drug crimes, and about a third of them are foreigners.

Indonesian Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo said after the January executions that he hoped the strict laws would have a "deterrent effect."

"What we do is merely aimed at protecting our nation from the danger of drugs," Prasetyo told reporters in January, saying that 40 to 50 people die each day from drugs in Indonesia and that trafficking had spread to many remote villages in the island country, according to the Times.