Government still lobbying for Bali Nine pair

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says she still hopes the Bali Nine pair, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, will be spared the death penalty in Indonesia.

MPs continue clemency calls as Chan, Sukumaran prepare to be moved

Ketut Siaga, a friend of Australian death-row prisoner Myuran Sukumaran, holds a self portrait painting made by Myuran.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says the federal government continues to lobby Indonesian authorities "at the highest levels" as Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran await the death penalty in Bali.

Chan, 31, and Sukumaran, 33, could be spending their last days in Kerobokan jail, where they have spent the past 10 years after their attempt to smuggle heroin out of Indonesia.

Authorities have given permission for them to be moved to prison island Nusakambangan, on a date to be determined, where they are expected to be executed.

Both coalition and Labor politicians in Australia have repeatedly urged President Joko Widodo to save the men from execution.

But President Joko has given a defiant vow this week not to succumb to outside pressure.

On Saturday, Ms Bishop said representations on behalf of the pair continued to be made.

"We continue to make representations. Our ambassador is in Jakarta ... and we have a number of officials making representations at the highest levels," she told SBS World News.

She said she still hoped that Chan and Sukumaran would be spared, and the Australian government was "considering a number of options should the executions proceed".

She said no decisions had been taken on what those options would comprise.

Ms Bishop also said she was not urging Australian tourists to boycott Indonesia over the issue.

"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.

The comments come amid reports the pair could be executed by firing squad in the coming week, with Australian embassy officials in Jakarta called to a meeting with the Indonesian ministry of foreign affairs on Monday.

This is part of a process that normally precedes the execution of foreign nationals.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Saturday called on Indonesia to be "responsive" to last-minute pleas to spare the Bali Nine ringleaders.

"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," Mr Abbott said in Sydney.

Besides more than 55 ministerial and prime ministerial representations, Australian officials and members of the business community say they have made "discreet overtures to their influential Indonesian contacts" in a bid to save the convicted drug smugglers.

Lawyers for Chan and Sukumaran are challenging Mr Joko's blanket denial of clemency for all drug offenders sentenced to death.

3 min read
Published 14 February 2015 at 9:29am
Source: AAP