News World Bishop’s last bid for Bali duo

Bishop’s last bid for Bali duo

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Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has requested formal talks with her Indonesian counterpart after prosecutors ordered preparations to begin for the executions of drug smugglers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

Indonesian officials yesterday told foreign embassies to send representatives to the prison island Nusakambangan.

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It is feared the official 72 hours notice of execution may be delivered at the meeting.

A spokesperson for Ms Bishop said attempts to contact her Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi had so far been unsuccessful.

Ms Bishop has been informed that Ms Marsudi is attending the Asia-Africa Conference and is unavailable to speak with her.

The spokesperson said the Australian Embassy in Jakarta had lodged a formal request for talks with Ms Marsudi.

Acting Prime Minister Warren Truss said on Friday that officials in Indonesia were gathering information on the development and Australia maintained its strong opposition to the planned executions.

“Our position obviously hasn’t changed,” Mr Truss said.

“We are appealing and will continue to appeal to the Indonesian government not to proceed with these executions.

“We abhor the drug trade but the death penalty is also unacceptable to Australians.

“That is a message we have conveyed in the past and will continue to do so as long as there’s hope.”

Mr Truss said Australian officials and citizens would do everything possible to stop the executions.

“We have had everybody who has been prepared to be involved, who may have influence, we have asked them to use that influence with the Indonesians,” he said.

“We have sought to lobby directly, leader to leader. Ordinary Australians have made their views known to ordinary Indonesians.

“There’s been an enormous effort by Australians to make it clear to the Indonesian government that this is a process we find abhorrent and we’ll continue to do that.”

Chan, Sukumaran’s lawyers concerned by development

Tony Spontana, a spokesman for the Indonesian attorney-general, said although the preparation orders had been issued, it was unclear how quickly the executions could be arranged.

Indonesian prosecutors will give three days’ notice to prisoners who will face the firing squad, but he also said the letters were not the final notification that must be given to the condemned inmates.

Peter Morrissey, a lawyer for Chan and Sukumaran, said the legal process was not complete, with both a constitutional court challenge and a judicial commission still in progress.

But he said the recent developments were concerning.

“They haven’t given the letter, which they’re obliged to give, which gives 72 hours’ notice. But it looks as if they might, or at least the attorney-general himself might be clearing the way to do that,” Mr Morrissey said.

“So we’re not on official notice, but we’ve very concerned by the current signs.

“We’re just redoubling our efforts to put a legal argument and we’re watching the government with gratitude who are doing as much as they can.”

On Tuesday, Indonesia’s president Joko Widodo said it was “only a matter of time” before the executions were carried out.

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