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Two Australian drug smugglers are to be executed by firing squad

Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, the ringleaders of the so-called “Bali Nine” drug smuggling gang, were woken and given a few minutes to get ready.

Indonesian police line up in front of a prison during the transfer of Australian death row prisoners, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in Bali.
Indonesian police line up in front of a prison during the transfer of Australian death row prisoners, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in Bali.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

TWO AUSTRALIAN DRUG smugglers in Indonesia were transferred today to an island where they will be executed, as the Australian leader said his country was “revolted” by their looming deaths after frantic diplomatic efforts to save them.

Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, the ringleaders of the so-called “Bali Nine” drug smuggling gang, were woken and given a few minutes to get ready before leaving Bali’s Kerobokan jail in the early hours, said local justice ministry official Nyoman Putra Surya.

The men, sentenced to death in 2006 for trying to smuggle heroin out of Indonesia, said “thank you” before leaving, and “we handcuffed them and they were quiet”, he added.

About 200 police, 50 soldiers and a water cannon were stationed outside the Bali prison as the men, in their early 30s, were driven out.

The pair were flown to Cilacap, on Java island, on a chartered commercial flight accompanied by military aircraft.

Two armoured vehicles escorted by elite police then boarded a boat at the local port which crossed to Nusakambangan island, home to several high security prisons and where the pair will be executed, an AFP reporter at the scene said.

Attorney-General Muhammad Prasetyo said Wednesday that final preparations, such as training the firing squads, were still being made before a date could be set for execution of the Australians and several other drugs offenders.

Authorities must give convicts 72 hours notice before they are executed. Convicts from France, Brazil, the Philippines, Nigeria and Ghana also recently lost appeals for clemency, and speculation is mounting over whether they will be included in the next round of executions.

‘Sick in their guts’

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Indonesia Executions Police gather near an Indonesian police armoured vehicle as two Australian prisoners arrive from Bali at Tunggul Wulung Airport in Cilacap, Central Java, Indonesia. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who has repeatedly called for Jakarta not to go ahead with the executions, said Australians were sickened by the developments.

“We frankly are revolted by the prospect of these executions,” he said, adding that “right now millions of Australians are feeling sick in their guts”.

Abbott said he hoped there might be a “change of heart in Indonesia”, but added: “What I don’t want, though, is to hold out false hope.”

However, he added: “I hope that even at this late hour, the better angels of the Indonesian peoples’ nature will reassert themselves”.

- © AFP, 2015

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