News World Abbott makes last-ditch appeal

Abbott makes last-ditch appeal

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Prime Minister Tony Abbott has urged Indonesia to heed last-minute pleas to spare two Australians, even as embassy officials in Jakarta are invited to a meeting on the logistics of their executions.

Andrew Chan, 31, and Myuran Sukumaran, 33, have been on death row since 2006 for their roles in the Bali Nine drug smuggling ring, but the Jakarta meeting signals they could face the firing squad within the week.

“Millions of Australians are feeling very, very upset about what may soon happen to two Australians in Indonesia,” Mr Abbott said in Sydney on Saturday.

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“My plea even at this late stage is for Indonesia to be as responsive to us as it expects other countries to be to them when they plead for the life of their citizens.”

Australia has not decided how it would respond to the executions, including whether to withdraw its ambassador, but Mr Abbott told The Daily Telegraph newspaper: “We will find ways of making our displeasure known.”

Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry has confirmed it has invited all embassies with citizens to be executed this month to a meeting on the formalities on Monday.

A date for the executions won’t be provided at the meeting, but the provision of 72 hours notice will be discussed, as well as access to the prisoners for family and logistics over foreign media coverage.

Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir says officials representing Ghana, France, the Philippines and Nigeria have also been summoned.

When Indonesia executed five foreign nationals last month, the meeting with relevant embassies took place one day before Attorney-General HM Prasetyo announced the execution date.

That announcement signalled the 72-hour notice period.

But in this case, the prisoners have to be transferred from jails all over Indonesia to the execution location, Nusakambangan island, off Central Java.

Authorities have permission to move Chan and Sukumaran from Bali’s Kerobokan jail, but haven’t set a date.

A spokeswoman for Foreign Minister Julie Bishop on Saturday confirmed the invitation to the Jakarta meeting.

Ms Bishop on Friday suggested the depth of feeling in Australia is so strong that Australians may boycott Indonesia if the executions go ahead.

She says she wasn’t urging for a boycott.

“I knew that there was very deep concern in the Australian public about the likely executions of Mr Sukumaran and Mr Chan, and that Australians will make their own decisions as to whether they want to travel to a country that does have the death penalty,” Ms Bishop told Macquarie Radio on Saturday.

Boycott calls were growing on social media before Ms Bishop’s remarks and politicians have received a flood of letters about the executions.

Ms Bishop’s opposition counterpart Tanya Plibersek told the Seven Network she didn’t think this was helpful.

“I’m really not sure that boycotting Bali is going to make much of a difference to the attitude in Jakarta,” Ms Plibersek said.

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