Indonesia delays execution of two Australian drug dealers by a month

The execution of two Australian drug smugglers on death row in Indonesia has been delayed by up to one month, the vice president's office told AFP on Friday.

hidden February 20, 2015 13:08:01 IST
Indonesia delays execution of two Australian drug dealers by a month

The execution of two Australian drug smugglers on death row in Indonesia has been delayed by up to one month, the vice president's office told AFP on Friday.

Husain Abdullah, the spokesman for Vice-President Jusuf Kalla, said the execution of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, the ringleaders of the so-called Bali Nine heroin trafficking group, "will be delayed for between three weeks to a month from now due to technical reasons," without elaborating further.

Indonesian authorities had already confirmed that Chan, 31, and Sukumaran, 33, would be among the next group of prisoners on death row to be executed, despite repeated appeals from Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott for their lives to be spared.

The two Australians were due to be transferred this week from Bali to a high-security prison on Nusakambangan island ahead of execution, but that was delayed after appeals from Canberra that the men be granted more time with their families.

Indonesia delays execution of two Australian drug dealers by a month

This combination of two file photos from Jan. 24, 2006, left, and Jan. 26, 2006 shows Australian drug traffickers Myuran Sukumaran, left, and Andrew Chan during their trial in Bali, Indonesia. AP

Indonesian authorities also cited logistical difficulties involving capacity at Nusakambangan -- the notorious island prison where five inmates were executed last month -- as a reason for the delay.

Tony Spontana, a spokesman for the attorney-general's office which oversees the executions, neither confirmed nor denied the statement from the vice president's office but insisted the prisoners would eventually face the firing squad.

"What needs to be underscored is the execution will still be conducted," Spontana told AFP.

Indonesia's pledge to proceed with the execution of the Australians -- just two of seven foreigners on death row whose appeals for presidential clemency have been rejected -- has strained ties between Jakarta and Canberra, a relationship only just recovering from a damaging rift in 2014 over spying revelations and people-smuggling.

AFP

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