Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran have told Foreign Minister Julie Bishop they are “relieved” at the delay in their transfer from Bali, as PM Tony Abbott warns Indonesia of possible consequences if their executions go ahead.
Indonesia has this week delayed transferring the Bali Nine pair from Bali to the island where they are due to be executed.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said she was able to speak directly to the two Australian men on death row over speakerphone.
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“They both seemed very relieved,” Ms Bishop told Fairfax radio in Melbourne.
“I think the delay in the decision to proceed with the planning of these executions came as a great relief to them and obviously to their families.”
Ms Bishop said she told the pair that the Australian government would use the extra time to continue pressing their case for clemency.
“We discussed the delay that the Indonesian authorities had announced and I assured them that we would take this opportunity to continue to press the case with the Indonesian authorities,” she said.
“We remain hopeful that Indonesia will understand we are pressing for a stay of execution, that we oppose it both at home and abroad.
“We are not asking the Indonesian government to do anything they are not doing themselves for their own nationals who face the death penalty elsewhere in the world.”
PM cites tsunami relief in latest clemency plea
Mr Abbott, meanwhile, has urged Indonesia to remember the contribution Australia made to the tsunami relief effort and to spare the lives of Chan and Sukumaran.
The Prime Minister said it was an encouraging sign that Indonesia had delayed moving the pair to their place of execution, but that it was not an indication of any serious prospect of clemency.
Mr Abbott said Australia had helped Indonesia in the past and hoped Indonesia would reciprocate.
However Indonesia says it won’t respond to Mr Abbott’s “threats” which appear to link Australian aid to the fate of the Bali Nine ringleaders facing execution.
“When Indonesia was struck by the Indian Ocean tsunami Australia sent a billion dollars’ worth of assistance,” Mr Abbott said Wednesday morning.
“We sent a significant contingent of our armed forces to help in Indonesia with humanitarian relief.”
Chan and Sukumaran’s Indonesian lawyer Todung Mulya Lubis said Mr Abbott’s point should be taken into consideration.
Mr Abbott said if the executions went ahead, Australia could not ignore them.
“We will be making our displeasure known,” he said.
“We will be letting Indonesia know in absolutely unambiguous terms that we feel grievously let down.”
Executions ‘almost certainly’ won’t happen this month
Indonesian police chiefs today met at Bali’s Kerobokan prison and emerged saying they were ready to transfer the two Australians but the time was yet to be decided.
Attorney-general Muhammad Prasteyo on Tuesday postponed the transfer of the Bali Nine pair to the island prison of Nusa Kambangan.
Mr Prasteyo said he asked for the delay so that Chan and Sukumaran’s families could spend more time with them.
A spokesman for Mr Prasteyo now says it is “almost certain” the Australians will not be executed this month because Nusa Kambangan is not yet prepared for the execution of more than five people at once
Legal community rallies around Chan and Sukumaran
Vigils have been organised in several Australian cities calling for support for the Bali Nine pair.
Prominent members of Victoria’s legal community addressed a gathering in Melbourne’s CBD Wednesday morning.
Victorian Supreme Court judge Lex Lasry told the crowd he met Chan and Sukumaran in 2006 and their rehabilitation has been “overwhelming”.